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.

 

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.

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.

The Yellow Sky Coven

So for Y today, I decided to give everyone a little bit of background on the interesting characters that make up the Yellow Sky Coven, at least those that show up in “Blood Moon, Yellow Sky.” I’ll save other folks from other books for later posts.

Geraldine, Geri, Beggay is the leader and teacher of the group. During her youth, spent as a teacher’s child out at a home for troubled youth, she met an old Cherokee shaman who, building on her natural aptitude, taught her magic. She found out about the Coalition for Magical Creatures when her teacher applied for membership. Unfortunately, he failed his test. Geri decided at that point, to go on with her life. During the ensuing years, she worked odd jobs, which occasionally included assisting the police with crimes that were outside the mundane realm. Over time, she became the magical sheriff of the Texas panhandle. She stayed active in the magical community and through that, eventually found her own students.

Alex Carlson was one of her first students. He found Geri in his early twenties. They quickly hit it off and she agreed to take him under her wing to teach him more types of magic than he could find in readily available books. Although he came from a magical family, most of which possed at least some psychic or magical skills, he was always looking to expand his knowledge. Alex owned the local independent bookstore, the Halfling’s Hideaway, and attracted a good number of young folk who had a natural aptitude for magic to the shop. Several other members of the coven were people pulled into the shop by the forces of fate.

Stan Belsario was one of the people that found their way into Halfling’s Hideaway. His military family traveled extensively when he was growing up. In each new place, he got out and explored everything he could of local culture. Over time, he was experienced many different types of magic, sometimes not the most savory of sorts. With a youth spent often running in the shadowed streets of third-world countries, he became an accomplished thief. By the time he reached Yellow Sky, the authorities kept watchful eyes on him. After meeting Alex and Geri, and coming under their calming influence, he turned his skills toward helping keep the magical peace that Geri demanded in her territory.

Charles Colfax met Alex in high school. Even though Alex was a couple years older than Charles, they became best friends. Soon after Alex began studying under Geri, Charles and his twin sister Bernadette managed to worm their way in to the group. Like Alex, they came by their magical talents naturally. Both having an affinity for fire, they adopted the magical nicknames of Char and Burn.

Terry and Larry Holloway are the sons of a police officer that Geri worked with on a regular basis. Their father actually recommended them to Geri. They had an interest in the occult and he didn’t want them wandering around on their own and getting into trouble. The Holloways aren’t as strong as some of the other members of the coven, but they bring their own unique flare to the group’s dynamic.

Finally there’s Janie Miller, like the Holloway brothers, she isn’t as strong magically as some of her friends, but she’s very close to Bernadette. The two went to school together and over time, fell in love. She is Burn’s shadow, often a balance to her fiery lover’s temper.

Other members of the coven came along over time, all drawn to the magic teachings that Geri had to offer and the general camaraderie that so many young folks need in their lives. Many things happen to them as a group and as individuals, some of these things are good, some not so good. As we see in “Blood Moon, Yellow Sky,” Geri follows in the footsteps of her magical teacher and applies for membership to the Coalition of Magical Creatures. This leads to the group’s meeting with Tal O’Duirwood that changes all of them forever.

To find out more about Geri and her crew, read the various Yellow Sky books, novellas, and short stories.

W is for Werebears

I’ve done a couple of post the past few weeks, during this A to Z Blog Challenge about lycanthropes and shapeshiftes. With us winding down to a close, and being on W, I figured I’d do another wer post. The logical idea was werewolves, but like vampires there’s been so much written about them. I decided to go for a different species and look at werebears.

Historically, there are only a few cultures that had stories of werebears. In Europe, the Vikings had tales of berserkers, men who in battle would lose their humanity and become enraged beast that were deadly to any and all who came near them. There are folks that claim they would even take on an animal-like physical appearance. Some people view this transformation as a form of lycanthrope and claim, these were werebears. There is no evidence that the condition could be transferred to other people. Several Native American tribes had tales of the bear brothers, bears who could become human, even mate with human women, but were always bears at heart. Again there is no tale of transferring the condition to others, although some tales to speak of the children, of these men, becoming bears.

When I write, I like to look at things a little differently and try to put new twists on things. Werebears help me do that. In my Yellow Sky books, I use a lot of lycanthrope species, all a little different. One of the things that set the bears apart from the others, is that they have more control over their changes, even the ones who aren’t magic users. They have more control over their animal side. The reason this is, is that they submerge themselves in their bear form for a week at a time, once a year. I actually have my bears hibernate, just like real wild bears would. This total submersion into their bear for an extended time gives werebears greater control than any other wers in the Yellow Sky universe, except those who were magic users before they became wers, or those who were born to wereparents. I’m even going to tell the story of one of the hibernations in a future book. No, it won’t be a sleeper.

I think that one of the reasons some authors, particularly romance authors, shy away from using bears, is that they see bears as big and fat, not something you want to see in a romance. Although wild bears do use a layer of fat to survive their hibernation, most of the time, bears are anything but fat, they are lean, muscular creatures at the top of their form. They are physical power personified. I bring that to the werebears in my writing. In their human forms they may be large imposing people, but they are not fat, they are muscular and powerful. They are still totally capable of being sexy and don’t mind proving it.

So stop in sometime and catch some of my bears in action. The main bears we see are Suzzy Goodberries, matriarch of the Bittertooth Bear Clan, J.P. Montgomery, head of security for the Coalition of Magical Creatures, and Jamie Thatcher, partner of Charles Colfax, a vampire, and member of the Yellow Sky coven. Jamie gets a lot more action than Suzzy or J.P., but who knows, we might see more of them in the future if my readers want it.

Werebears might not get the same attention, either in classic mythology and legends, or modern culture, as werewolves, but they still make interesting characters and can be a lot of fun. So amble on over and share a roar instead of a howl once in a while.

T is for Tal O’Duirwood

Character Study

To the general public, Tal O’Duirwood is somewhat of an enigma. Seldom seen, his name is whispered with fear throughout most corners of the metaphysical world. He is the boogie man that werewolf mothers tell their children of to make them behave. As an enforcer for the Coalition of Magical Creatures, he has earned their fear by keeping the magical world from creeping out of the shadows and into the light of the mundane world. Tal likes the fact that the metaphysical public doesn’t know who he really is, and that his name is the source of terror around the world.

Very few people actually know the real Tal O’Duirwood. He holds onto his privacy with both hands. Those that he accepts into his life and into his secrets, find a friend the likes of which they could never hope to find again. He is loyal to his close friends and family and doesn’t accept betrayal easily. For nearly two thousand years, the most important thing to him was knowledge, particularly magical knowledge. He comes by his thirst for knowledge naturally. He got it from his mother, the dragon Oleta, the last pure dragon of England.

Tal was raised by his father Taliesin, a druid and one of the Merlin’s of Brittan. Tal was trained as a druid from before he was born. He didn’t discover his dragon heritage until his twenty-first birthday, when, at his father’s urging, he finally changed into a dragon. With his first transformation into his other form, Tal stopped aging. So now, although he is nearly two thousand years old, he appears to be in his early twenties.

Over his long life, Tal explored most of the known world, even venturing into places lost or forgotten to most people. His never-ending thirst for knowledge, combined with his personal quest to find other dragon’s has kept him going. When the Spanish first explored the New World, Tal took the opportunity to get out of Europe and see what there was to find. On the voyage across the Atlantic, he fell for a young noble named Estaben de’Oro. They set off by themselves as Tal sought to find some of the native magic users before the main body of the Conquistadors could. This proved disastrous for Estaben as they were attacked by vampires deep in the Amazon Jungle. Tal knew how to save the young noble’s life, but the Spaniard became a vampire. Tal had known the company of vampires before. They were long lived, like he was and made adequate companions.

Over the course of their journeys, Tal and Estaben came to the Colorado Rockies, where Tal found a place that the magics sung to him and he decided to call home. In the mountains Tal could be freer than he could in towns, although Estaben still had to feed on humans to sustain his life. The vampire eventually betrayed Tal by creating a companion of his own and the two vampires went on a bloody rampage across several western states. Being unable to bring himself to hunt them down, Tal retreated into his newly-built library and immersed himself into his studies, coming out from time to time to work with some of the native shamans, learning new magics.

Around 1900, as America was growing ever westward, Tal was found by a werewolf, William Sheffield, who was part of a new organization called the Coalition of Magical Creatures. William had followed rumors of Tal across the west, hoping to recruit him for the group that was going to unite the many factions of magical creatures under one organization. Tal was reluctant at first, but finally went to see what the Coalition had to offer. Over time he became their chief enforcer in the western United States.

Nearly a hundred years later he is called to Yellow Sky Texas where a witch named Geraldine, Geri, Beggay is dealing with a vampire problem in her small town. Her problem is named Steven Goldson, a man formerly known as Estaben de’Oro. Amongst Geri’s students is a man named Alex Carlson. Within moments of meeting the handsome mage, Tal feels their lives intertwine. After nearly two thousand years, the lone dragon had found a man to call his own.

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

Coming soon the short story of Tal’s first flight “First Flight” appearing in “Here There be Dragons” from Wicked East publishing.

Also coming soon, the second Yellow Sky novel.

Shapeshiters

Shapeshifters, often just called shifters in today’s vernacular, have been elements of myth and legend for as long as mankind has told tales. Long ago, Gods like Zeus could change their shape into many different things animal, vegetable and mineral. Many of the Native American Gods were shapeshifters, most notably Coyote, the Trickster God. In the Middle Ages shape changing was something that a lot of witches were rumored to do thanks to their knowledge of magic.

Today, in popular culture, we have a large number of shifters ranging from long-forgotten Gods, to love sick werewolves and strange alien life forms. It is unclear which tales were the true sparks for the current popularity in shifters, but today there are entire genres in literature devoted to them. A large majority of the paranormal works out there have shapeshifters of one form or another (pun intended) gracing their pages. Werewolves abound as do dragons, seals, otters, bears and other types of beasties. Most of the lycanthrope shifters are said to be suffering a curse, either from a witch’s spell or another lycanthrope’s bite. For a lot of people this curse and the angst it brings is part of what makes the werewolf, or other wer attractive. It makes them an underdog and gives them something to overcome.

Thanks to Bram Stoker, a number of sexy vampires as change into other things while moving about on their nightly hunt for blood. Vampires are often seen changing into bats, wolves, ravens or mist depending on the needs of the story. With vampires, the shapeshifting is part of the power and allure of the blood drinker. It helps add another element of mystery to the creature.

Magical shapeshifting is a lot like vampire shape changing. The witch, wizard, shaman or sorcerer uses magic to leave their human form behind. Sometimes it’s through a spell, sometimes it’s with a magic item, you can even find it as a wish being granted. Magical shapeshifting has been used for everything from flying to carry a message to changing into an animal to communicate with other animals of the same kind. A wizard who changes himself into a kitten and invades a maiden’s bed chamber is less likely to be rebuked than one that just strolls in.

Over time, space aliens have even gotten in on the shapeshifter band wagon. It gives them the power to pass for human even if their real form might be a plant, a giant bear beast or maybe a pool of jelly. An unknown life form transforming into a human shape makes people more receptive to them and in pop culture, makes them sexier.

Nowadays, shapeshifters aren’t the scary monsters they used to be in the past. Thanks to good spin agents, they are seen as tormented souls, lost and lonely, in need of someone to love them. The beastly side of them makes them sexy. No matter what your flavor of shifter is, there’s something out there for you to try.

I enjoy writing about shifters and more than a few can be found in my Yellow Sky stories and my E.S. Peters Investigations books. Monday’s blog will be a character study of one of them, Tal O’Duirwood. Stop by and check it out.

No One

Have you ever wondered who is stopping your success? The basic answer there is no one. No one is stopping you from getting everything that you want. How many times have you heard that you can accomplish anything that you want? This is so very true. There is no one stopping you from achieving anything you want to do, except, maybe yourself.

How do we accomplish our goals? The key is focus and determination. Set a goal for yourself. Start small, unless you are already an accomplished goal setter and achiever. Make sure that this first goal is something you can achieve, but don’t make it too easy. If your long term goal is fitness, then say on the first day you’re going to walk a mile. It may be hard, but no one is going to stop you from achieving this goal. Have a firm picture in your mind of walking that mile. Put your walking shoes on, actually for a mile it can be flip flops if that’s what you like, and go walk that mile. The next day, walk a little further. The following day, further still. Then over time, with focus, you’ll accomplish your fitness goal. Keep your mind set on getting there and no one will stop you.

Becoming the next big name writer may seem like a harder goal, but it’s still something you can accomplish with focus and determination. Part of that focus is finding the right trail to be on, it may be a little harder than walking a mile, the sidewalks, roads, and trails have probably already been laid for you for your walk, while the path to becoming a writer, or anything for that matter, may be a little less obvious. The very first thing you need to do is figure out where you’re going. What is your real goal? With everything you’re doing, there will be goals. You need to figure them out and the path will appear before you. If you want to start with the big goals and then back track to see what smaller goals have to be met along the way, that’s fine. This idea can be applied to everything that you’re trying to do. Remember things take time.

For being a successful writer, you first have to define your meaning of success. Is success selling the next New York Times number-one best seller? Is success selling a hundred copies of your first self-published book? There are a large number of writers out there that define success by just making a profit. You have to decide where your success falls in the big scheme of things. No one else can do that for you. The trail for the person, who’s going to be the NYT best seller, is longer than the trail for the person who just wants to sell a hundred books. When setting out on any trail, you need to set up rewards for yourself along the way, points, signpost, or benchmarks that will tell you that you’re accomplishing your goals. Figuring out this part can be hard, particularly in today’s unstable and constantly changing publishing world. You have to take control of the situation and keep abreast of the enviroment. You have the power to achieve your goals. No one will stop you.

Life is full of various trails and paths that we must travel. We are in control of our own destinies. All we have to do is set goals, keep our focus, and stay on the path to those goals. Ignore the temptation to wander off the path. Keep moving and as long as you know your destination and hold onto your goals, no one will stop you. Just say to yourself, “No one can stop me!” and you will succeed.

L is for Lycanthrope

Lycanthropy…My love suffers from Lycanthropy.

It’s a rare disease,

You can wake up with fleas,

When you lay down with a werewolf.

A stanza from a song I heard a long time ago. I think I probably still have it around here somewhere on cassette. I can’t remember the title or the singer, but thought it would be an interesting start to this post. Lycanthropy is where a human posses the ability to change into a specific animal or vice versa. They are shape shifters, but not all shape shifters are lycanthropes. Their condition can be the result of a curse, a deal with the devil, the attack from another lycanthrope, eating the wrong herb under a full moon or several other possibilities depending on the part of the world the legend comes from. There are legends of Lycanthropes all over the world, from leopard men in Africa, dog men in the Orient, bear people of the Native Americans, and the classic werewolf of Europe. Men have been changing into animals ever since humans first gathered around fires and told tales of things they didn’t understand.

Classically a werewolf was something to be feared. They were uncontrolled beast that hunted with wilds under the light of the full moon, killing anything that crossed their paths. Anyone unlucky enough to survive an attack from a werewolf, became a werewolf themselves during the next full moon. The only ways to defeat a werewolf were with wolf’s bane and silver bullets.

Thanks to modern literature and theater, the portrait of the werewolf has changed. Today’s werewolf might be wearing a three-piece suit and working on Wall Street by day and hunting the streets of Harlem by night, seeking out evil doers to feast upon. He might be the sexy teen buried under in angst, worrying more about his girlfriend than the monster hunters with their silver bullets. They might even been a group of suburban house wives playing bunko every week that eat the women who cheat. We read and see a lot of different views of the classic monsters out there in the world today. I personally think this is a good thing. There is a lot of fertile ground to explore in the classics, and I love it when writers and other artist let their imagination go wild. So whether your preference is for the monster stalking the moors looking for unsuspecting travelers lost in the fog, or a sexy beast whose need for a pack makes him the most attentive lover ever known, there is something out there waiting for you. And don’t forget to explore the other creatures, there’s more than just wolves waiting for folks on the dark book cases and dvd racks of the world.