Winter Holidays

Wow, so I’m kicking off the Colorado M/M writers winter holiday blog hop…Not sure I’m up for the pressure. Over the next few days, be sure to check in with the home website for the M/M writers and stop by the various blogs. oicchristmasThere will be prizes at the end. How fun is that? Actually for those leaving a comment here on my blog during the blog hop, you’ll be entered for a chance to win an ebook copy of my urban fantasy, “Blood Moon, Yellow Sky.” This is good timing since the sequel, “Dark Stars of Dallas,” is coming out very soon.
So onto Winter Holidays. Where to start? I guess the beginning is a good place. It was a dark and stormy night—nope, wrong book. Actually it was a dark and cold night. The original winter holiday was the winter solstice, which the ancient Celts and Norse called Yule. It can be traced back to ancient Germanic practices and most of the rituals were incorporated into the beliefs surrounding Christmas when the Christians usurped the old pagan religions of the region. The solstice marks the longest night. Ironically, since the seasons are reversed when you cross the equator, while we celebrate winter pagan holidays in the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere celebrates summer pagan holidays. The non-Pagan holidays don’t follow the seasons, so for the Aussies, Christmas is warm and sunny with little chance of snow.
A good number of holidays happen around the winter solstice and most of them have some similarities as if they tried to fill a gap in time where their practitioners were afraid to be left out of everyone else’s celebrations. Although Christmas and Yule are the biggest ones now, there’s also Kwanza, celebrated by African Americans in North America. There’s also Bodhi, a Buddhist holiday, Yalda, a Middle Eastern celebration of the solstice that has an interesting correspondence to the birth of Jesus in Christian mythos, and let us not forget the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.
There are also tons of little, in comparison, days like Boxing Day celebrated in Britain and many of her colonies that originally started as a way to give to the less fortunate. There’s Holy Innocent’s day and a number of other saint’s days that either build up to or wrap up Christmas in the various Christian sects.
Around our house, we celebrate a blending of Yule and Christmas so we keep the various parts of the family happy since we’re a mixed household. Luckily a Christmas or Yule tree is a major common symbol so we make sure to decorate it prettily. So we don’t confuse the kids, we do presents on Christmas morning like all of their friends. We also do Yule logs, which are made from the previous spring’s Maypole, when we have a maypole. There are stockings hung with care because Santa Claus is but one of the many forms taken by the Holly King. We like hay rides since we don’t have access to a nice old-fashioned sleigh. I realize that this might not be the way it is for everyone, but this works for us.
This blog post has rambled, but when you take a good long look at our winter holidays, they have become a bit strange and rambling in their own ways. I fear we are rapidly losing the meanings of many, if not all, of the celebrations this time of year. The simple joy of knowing that the sun is reborn with the dawn after the longest night, and that the promise of spring is renewed (and this carries over in both spelling of sun/son) has been lost in all the rabid commercialism that gets worse each year. Being together with family through the darkest days has been lost to the idea of who bought me the best present.
We now fight over Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Since we celebrate two, I’m all in favor of Happy Holidays, since to us it’s more than just Christmas. But why do we even really care what other people are celebrating as long as they are celebrating? We live in a world that is in desperate need of true, happy celebrations. Not just getting presents, but giving of ourselves to other people. Years ago, the celebrations around the solstice were times that communities came together to see how people were getting along through the winter. It was a time of being a part of something bigger than ourselves.
We need to remember that and embrace the idea that we are not alone in the world. We hurry through our lives, often losing touch with friends and family as we go. No matter what holiday you celebrate this year, remember that these are celebrations meant to bring folks together. Stop standing out by yourself. Set old grievances aside and enjoy your family, whether they are by blood or by choice. Be happy. If my crazy family made up of Pagans and Christians, gay and straight, young and old can all come together, it’s possible for anyone to do so. Embrace your family. Don’t let another year go by, even if all you can afford is a phone call to let them know that you remember them. The world is trying it’s best to pull families apart these days. Use the holidays, no matter what you celebrate, as a reason to come back together.
So I started off talking about different holidays and end up getting a bit holiday mushy. Sorry about that. I get kinda soft this time of year. I know a lot of people feel lonely right now and there’s no need for that. We all have someone who wants to be with us through the longest night and embrace the birth of a new year. Brightest Blessings this holiday season, no matter who is giving those blessings.
Now since this blog hop is going on for several days, don’t forget to stop by the main site hosting the hop, Marie has done a great job getting things set up so you can visit the other sites with a different stop each day. Since I’m the start of things, there’s just the link for tomorrow’s blog. Tabatha Heart
Everyone go out and have a Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Cool Yule, Happy Kwanza, Happy Hanukkah, Blessed Bodhi, or whatever celebration you’re having, just go have fun and a happy time. And don’t forget to leave a comment below to register to win an ecopy of “Blood Moon, Yellow Sky” at the end of the blog hop.

Here Comes “Familiar Path”

It’s release day for “Familiar Path” the first book in the “Familiar Way” series.

“Familiar Path” is the story of Lugh McNeal as he discovers family secrets he never imagined existed. Lugh if an only child, and after his father died in a boating accident, his mother moves them from Florida to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. On his fifteenth birthday, a strange dream awakens Lugh. He discovers a new friend, a somewhat annoying cousin, and a strange gray kitten that needs him. But there are forces working toward Lugh’s destruction. Can Lugh and the strange kitten find the answers and power they need before darkness enshrouds them?

Familiar Path200x300“Familiar Path” is available through Silverstream Press.

https://silverstreampress.com/familiar-path-ebook-p-1514.html

 

Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia

2013 2FEAR

Where does hate come from? For the most part hate comes from not understanding or from fear. But there are several kinds of hate, there is hate of things that make you uncomfortable, like the taste of certain foods, or the hate of some kinds of weather if you are unprepared for it. I live in Colorado, I don’t understand folks who live here and hate snow. If you hate snow, don’t live in Colorado, sorry but go back to California or Florida, Texas or wherever you can that you don’t normally have snow. In my mind that’s the easiest way to deal with something you personally hate. I hate traffic. I now opt to live as far away from it as possible, and only go into town when I have to. It keeps my stress down.

Hates born of fear can be difficult to deal with. When fear is involved, rational beings often act in irrational ways. A lot of people have irrational fears, some of these are actually genetically coded into us for survival. It’s totally normal for primates to have a fear of birds of prey, we used to be smaller and they used to be larger. There are a number of fossil records that show prehistoric birds of prey used to hunt proto humans. But a lot of us overcome this irrational fear as we should all of our fears. Bugs aren’t going to hurt you. In my mind, homophobia is also an irrational fear. Gays aren’t going to hurt you, and they’ll only do your hair if you ask and they have the skilled. Trust me, nobody, not even the cat wants me to do their hair.

In a lot of people, the things they don’t know or understand cause fears. Fear of the unknown is one of the big reasons that we have so few explorers today. Folks are comfortable being feed the information that they are told and don’t care to embrace change. When they are faced with something that they don’t understand the immediate response is to be afraid and depending on the extent of that fear, it can turn to hate. Many people have a deep fear of the dark, because in the dark, you have no idea what’s waiting for you. Being prepared to deal with things you don’t understand is one of the best ways to deal with the fear of the unknown.

So what is the best way to deal with hate? It depends on where the hate comes from. If it originates from not understanding something, then the best thing is to educate people. Show them what they are not understanding and how it is harmless. Too many people in our world today dwell deep in their uneducated states on many things and want to stay there. These people can be the hardest to break out of their closed mental cages. You have to take a slow careful approach with them to pull them out of their confinement; the hardest part is getting them to take the first steps out. Once you have them moving mentally forward, you can fill their minds with positive information and wash their fears away with knowledge and understanding.

In our world right now, we are dealing with minority hate. It is something that has been around since we first swung down out of the trees. In recent history, we’ve dealt with racial hate, religious hate, and the big one right now is sexuality hate. As humans, this hate of difference is natural, but we need to tackle it and push it back. Find a common ground to stand on with the haters. They hate having anything in common with the object of their hate. Often, they have much more in common with the object of their hate than they believe. During the racial hate that scarred this country less than half a century ago, whites didn’t believe they had anything in common with blacks, when in reality, the only difference was the color of their skin. They still had the same types of families, still did the same kind of work, even defecated the same way. The religious hate is harder to fight, because there is nothing physical to fight, the fight is all about ideas. Ideas are more powerful than any material weapon ever created by man. Across the globe we still see most major conflicts can be narrowed down to either physical greed or religious idealism. When we get to the nuts and bolts of the last vestiges of homophobia it’s based on religious ideas. Science explains that sexual attraction is something that is hard wired. The only real choice a person has is the choice to be happy or not. If you choose to be happy, you choose a partner that you’re attracted to. If you choose to follow the outdated religious dogma, you choose to pair off like they say. Be warned, the odds are that you and your partner will be miserable when you choose to go against yourself. You may be hiding from the hate, but you are also hiding from who you are.

Fight the hate. Educate those around you. Help open their minds. Some days it will be easier than others. But be yourself. You best weapons are knowledge, and your own good will. Open minds, and eventually the plague of homophobia will go away.

Please visit other great bloggers participating in this hop you can either click on the picture above or here.

If you would like to be eligible for a free ebook copy of “Blood Moon, Yellow Sky” the first book in the Yellow Sky series, please leave a comment with your email address below. For additional entries, please follow me on Twitter and Facebook. The drawing will be held May 28th.

 

Autumn’s Harvest

Autumn is here and I am so happy. Living in the mountains of Colorado makes fall even more spectacular. I always welcome the coming cold season with open arms, this year even more so. We had a long hot and dangerous summer around here, with several fires interrupting our daily lives and impacting many friends and neighbors around us. Fall is bringing us much needed rains to hopefully break the drought that has gripped so much of the country. But even outside of the added relief that fall is bringing, I just enjoy it.

Here in the mountains, fall brings a riotous burst of color as the aspen trees go from their spring and summer green to their vibrant yellows, golds and reds. Even now as I write this, I can look out at the aspen at the end of the driveway that is a gorgeous flame red. When I drive into town, I can look up on the sides of Pike’s Peak and see the rivers of gold washing down them as the aspens turn and their color stands out against the normal green of the pines there.

Also in autumn, we start seeing more critters around here. The birds are migrating and an influx of hawks and falcons replace the humming birds that we have all summer. Soon the eagles will be back in a nearby canyon where they winter, giving lots of photo opportunities. The elk are coming down from the higher, cooler areas where they spend the winter. Sometimes in the mornings, you can hear them bugling in the distance and it’s not uncommon to see herds of several hundred moving through heading toward lower ground. The mule deer are gathering their herds together and the bucks are sporting their massive racks. We’ve even got moose coming through this year, I haven’t seen any yet, but it’s giving me an excuse to skimp on my writing and drive around trying to spot them. We are weary of the bears that are frantically trying to get enough to eat before going into hibernation, but they are still fun to see, just at a safe distance.

Autumn also means indoor fires. Until I lived on wood heat, I never understood why the warmth of an indoor fire felt so good. It’s a comforting smell and feel. It also gives all my clothes a perpetual campfire smell and my friends love getting hugs just to smell my clothes. And speaking of clothes, got to love flannels and heavier clothes, like the warm fire, there’s just something comforting and enjoyable about heavier clothes.

And then there’s the first snow of the year. Here it can show up anytime now. I don’t think it’s going to arrive before the aspens have finished dropping their leaves, but when it does, it creates a beautiful contrast between the white and the color. But even if it’s too late for the trees, the first snow of the year has a special cleanness and glamour all its own. It gives an energy and liveliness to everything around. The critters, both domestic and wild all seem to come alive with the first snow. My horses have a bit more spunk to them. My dogs play in it. It’s fun watching this year’s fawns frolic as the first snowflakes fall from the sky. Later in winter very few enjoy snow as much as the first snowfall in autumn.

Get out and enjoy the beauty and grandeur of autumn. Smell the wood burning fireplaces. See the colors all around you. Watch as the animals scurry about getting ready for winter. But most of all, just feel the seasons changing. Find the wonder in this glorious season. I love it, and think that others should too.

I hope everyone enjoys the Autumn Harvest blog hop lots of other blogs to visit. Leave a comment, with your email, for a chance to win an e-copy  “Hearts Blood Fusion”. If you follow the blog, twitter, and like my facebook page you’ll get an extra entry for each like and follow you make. Winner will be drawn at random on 11/13/12. A side note here, I don’t use raffle copter, just keep track of everything via spreadsheet.

Be sure to stop by other blogs to have an opportunity for some of these great prizes.

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet

2nd Grand Prize: A $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains 10+ paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!


Congrats Emily

Wow this has been a great blog hop. Thanks to everyone who participated. Emily W. , you’re the winner of the free ecopy of “Hearts Blood Fusion” just respond to the email I sent you and we’ll get that right out. Everyone else, thanks for stopping by I had a great time and I hope you did too.

The Alpha Dragon

You don’t get much more alpha than a two thousand year old half dragon. Tal O’Duirwood is just such an alpha male. In the modern world he’s an enforcer for the Coalition of Magical Creatures. He’s a no-nonsense guy who’s not afraid of racking up a body count, and at the same time he manages to keep his people safe. Over his long life, he’s spent a lot of that time alone. Although he’s had lovers from time to time, enjoying the company of everything from humans to vampires and werewolves, he never found anyone who could hold his attention until he came to Yellow Sky, Texas.

Sent there on assignment to help a witch and her coven defeat a vampire horde intent on taking over the city, Tal loses himself in Alex Carlson, a twenty something mage. For the first time in many centuries, the dragon discovers what it means to not be alone. The lighter caring side that he thought long since buried comes out as he struggles to keep his new love and their friends alive.

Tal is the best there is in an alpha male, he’s strong, courageous, sexy as all get out, while at the same time being compassionate to those closest to him. He can be dangerous when the situation calls for it, and at the same time loving when the danger is past. This dragon is someone you long for, but know you can never have as his heart belongs to Alex.

Personal statistics.

Height : Human form : five feet, ten inches

Dragon form : seven feet five inches at the shoulder, twenty feet long

Weight: Human form: one hundred seventy five pounds

Dragon form : two thousand six hundred and fifty pounds.

Wing Span: Twenty five feet two inches.

Hair color : Black

Scale color : Black, after bonding with Alex his top most neck ridge along his head is now red.

Eye Color : sapphire blue

Follow Tal’s adventure in my Yellow Sky series.

Highlights:

His meeting with William Sheffield “The Wolf’s Proposition

His first meeting with Alex Carlson “Blood Moon, Yellow Sky

His bonding to Alex “Hearts Blood Fusion

The story of Tal’s first flight “First Flight” is in “Here There be Dragons” from Wicked East publishing.

The tale of Tal’s birth “The Dragon’s Tome” will be appearing in “An Uncommon Collection” by Colorado Springs Fiction Writer’s Group. Coming out November 2012

Also coming soon, “Dark Stars of Dallas” the second Yellow Sky novel.

 

I hope everyone enjoys the Alpha Male blog hop lots of other blogs to visit. Leave a comment, with your email, for a chance to win an e-copy  “Hearts Blood Fusion”. If you follow the blog, twitter, and like my facebook page you’ll get an extra entry for each like and follow you make. Winner will be drawn at random on 10/22/12. A side note here, I don’t use raffle copter, just keep track of everything via spreadsheet.

Here’s a pic of all the prizes available for the grand prize. Check it out on the main site.

Out Guest Blogging today

Check out the guest blog today. I’m over at Paranormal Cravings as part of their wer and shifters month.

http://paranormalcravings.blogspot.com/2012/10/guest-post-with-giveaway-by-am-burns.html

We’re even having a give away.

Interview with Sheryl Steines

Please enjoy this interview with Sheryl Steines, author of the action-packed urban fantasy, “She Wulf.” Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of ”She Wulf,” and 5 copies of its companion, ”The Day of First Sun.”

1:When you start a book do you know how it will end or do you create the ending as you go along?

I have a rough idea of what the book will be about and I have some scene ideas and a rough ending.  When I wrote “The Day of First Sun,” I knew that a high profile, non-magical person was going to be murdered by magic.  I wrote out a paragraph of things that I wanted to see in the story and began writing.  I didn’t look at the paragraph again until after the book was published and realized that I didn’t keep to my original thoughts at all.  I tend to work without an outline because I feel tied to the story as if I’m trying to make everything fit.  I prefer to let it flow and change.  I like the freedom and the discovery.  Sometimes I’m wildly surprised.

2. Do your book characters ever visit you in your dreams?

Yes and no.  Not as much when I’m sleeping, but I daydream about them all the time.  It’s how I work out characters and storylines.  It’s almost as if a movie is playing in my head and I can change and add to storylines.

3. What are your favorite authors as either an adult or a child?

When I was a kid, I loved Nancy Drew.  I read every one of them, but I didn’t just want to read them, I wished I had wrote them and started to write my own detective stories when I was seven.  As I grew older, I read Judy Blume and Stephen King.  Both made me feel something and from that I wanted to keep writing.  I still read Stephen King and was very inspired by his autobiography “On Writing”.  It was J.K. Rowling though, that reminded me of what I loved to read and that’s what inspired me to write my own fantasy novel.

4. How do you go about finishing a chapter when you can’t get it right?

I skip it…Just kidding.  No, actually I’m not.  Sometimes, I make a note in all caps reminding me I haven’t finished the chapter and other notes that I might be thinking about for the chapter and start the next one.  Sometimes you just need to move on.  The answer will eventually hit you upside the head when you least expect it.

5. Describe your reaction when you saw and held your first book?

I think I was numb when “The Day of First Sun” was published.  Almost as if I had only done it to satisfy a selfish desire.  It didn’t seem real.  It was when I held “She Wulf” in my hands for the first time that I was overcome with emotion.  This book consumed me for so long and I was so amazed by the final product and it seemed more than just a fantasy.

6. What is your biggest achievement to date?

Writing my first book.  I always wanted to and never gave myself the opportunity.  One day I decided it was time.  It changed my life, gave me confidence.  I lost the extra baby weight, changed my wardrobe, straightened my hair and gave my girls a role model, an example of taking control of one’s life and being the best person you can be.

7. What’s your favorite color?

Pink.  I’ve always been a girly girl.  As much as I’d like to be a sporty girl, I’m just not.  It’s all about the pink, purses and shoes.

8. Favorite sound?

I love the sound of rain on the roof.  Not during the sunlight hours, but early in the morning when it’s still dark out.  I snuggle under the covers.  It makes me happy.

9. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

An interior decorator.  I love being creative and crafty and picking paint colors and getting lost in a fabric store.  It’s almost as good as getting lost in a bookstore.

10. Worst fear?

I fear the alligators under the bed.  Since I was a kid I can’t sleep without something covering my feet incase they come and get me.  Don’t laugh, Stephen King admitted the same thing in an interview once.

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the “She Wulf” eBook edition is just 99 cents this week–and so is the price of its companion, “The Day of First Sun”. What’s more, by purchasing either of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

Purchase your copy of “She Wulf”for just 99 cent
Purchase your copy of “Day of First Sun” for just 99 cent

Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity

Visit today’s featured social media event

About “She Wulf” Annie is sent through an ancient time portal with only a prophecy to guide her; she struggles with a new destiny as she tries to figure out a way to destroy an un-killable demon and return home.  Get it on Amazon

About “The Day of First Sun” A vampire, a rogue wizard and an army of soulless zombies are par for the course for Annie Pearce and Bobby “Cham” Chamsky of the Wizard’s Guard. But when the non-magical princess, Amelie of Amborix, is murdered by magical means, a deeper plot unfolds. Get it on Amazon

About the author: Behind the wheel of her ’66 Mustang Convertible, Sheryl is a constant surprise, using her sense of humor and relatable style make her books something everyone can enjoy. Visit Sheryl on her website Twitter Facebook GoodReads

Backlist Blog Hop

Before we get to the new post, I wanted to let folks know that we had no one send through a name for the new character. Since I’ve been working on a couple other books this month, I’m extending the deadline until September 15th, so go out and read “Perfect Trouble” and help me name the new supporting character that appears at the end of the short “The Lost Whelping” that is attached to “Perfect Trouble” need a name for this little one before I start writing “Perfect Aim.”

Now on to new stuff. I am taking part in another blog hop, this time its the Backlist Blog hop. There are a lot of great authors attached to this hop. Stop by and Check out what they have to offer, you might discover someone you have never read before.

Leave a comment and get in the drawing for an ebook of “Blood Moon, Yellow Sky.” It will be the perfect time to read it as we work on putting on the finishing touches to “Dark Stars of Dallas” book two of the Yellow Sky Coven series. I’ll notify the winner on Monday.