Vampires – The End and the Beginning

Many of you know that this blog started before I began the process of writing in order to be published. It always had a vampire theme (tagline courtesy of Aaron Harris aka Jester) and my friend Dave Simmer II from Blogography.com made this little cartoon as a joke because I wrote those sexy romances with vampires. For those of you who don’t know, this is TVC (aka Throbbing Vampire Cock.)

So the blog is probably going away. I may be going away. And not coming back. Life is really difficult for me as of this writing and I can’t see a way out. So I’m going to end as I began, with sexy vampires, just not my own this time. Check it out!

Lord Vampyre

When Lord Neverelle becomes a guest at Cliffside Keep, Vanni watches helplessly as Damion, the young man he’s grown up with and secretly loves, falls for the alluring and seductive stranger. Lord Neverelle is danger incarnate, and soon takes control of the household.

Not satisfied with Damion alone, Never uses a vampire trick called “the tempt” to compel Vanni, who is swept into a love triangle that includes fiery passion and nightly threesomes.

Now Vanni must ask himself, is any of this consensual? And what about Damion—does he really want to be with Vanni, or is it all a sensual play controlled by vampire compulsion?

M/M and M/M/M romance.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Lord-Vampyre-Wendy-Rathbone-ebook/dp/B07KY2B3KS

About Wendy Rathbone

I have written in all genres: scifi, fantasy, horror, paranormal, contemporary, erotica, romance. My poetry has won awards, publishing contracts, and was recently nominated for a Pushcart. I am a hybrid writer, publishing both indie (under my press name Eye Scry Designs) and with publishers, most recently with Dreamspinner Press.

I keep coming back to romance. Gay romance. Male/male romance. Many of my themes involve escape from abduction, pleasure slavery, indentured servitude, imprisonment. It’s like, with my writing, I’m constantly breaking out of some self-imposed cage and letting my wings unfurl until I can finally fly.

I live in the high desert of Southern California, USA with two dogs, a sprinkling of cats, and my partner of 38 years.

All my books are available on Amazon.

There are no Lex Valentine vampire books for sale on Amazon any longer. The one book I have at Liquid Silver is avian shifters. The 3 books at Decadent are contemporary. My vampires exist only on my computers now and I don’t foresee them returning any time soon especially since my life may be pretty much done with this current set of bad luck.

So go buy Wendy’s vampires. Enjoy a little TVC this December. Love you all.

25 Days of Christmas 2018 – Winners

All done. Yup. This year’s book giveaway is all over. The list of winners is below. Authors will be contacting their winners to distribute the books.

Day Fifteen: Hangover From Hell by Zakarrie Clarke and Moonlight Masquerade by DM Roberto – winner, Daphne Wedig

Day Sixteen: Duty and Sacrifice by Devon Vesper and Lost & Found by Quin & Perin – winner, Dianna Clark

Day Seventeen: Uhane Hunter by AJ Llewellyn – winner, Carolyn Scott

Day Eighteen: Banded Brothers by Amber Kell – winner, Jan

Day Nineteen: Delta Force by Annabella Stone – winner, Laurel Looney

Day Twenty: Rexly the Randy Reindeer by Stephani Hecht – winner, Shirley Ann Speakman

Day Twenty One: Cupid’s Christmas Arrow by Lynn Michaels – winner, Trix

Day Twenty Two: Eugene and the Box of Nails and choice of backlist from Jaime Samms – winner, Kendra Patterson

Day Twenty Three: Choice of backlist from Aimee Nicole Walker – winner, Lorraine

Day Twenty Four: Sugar Cookies and Computer Code by Kris Jacen – winner,  Mary Gresham

Day Twenty Five: Return of the Chauffeur’s Son by Tara Lain and Hawaii Five Uh Oh by Z.A. Maxfield – winner, Jen CW

Congrats to all the winners and many thanks to everyone who commented on all the posts and to the wonderful authors who donated their books. It’s been a wonderful month for readers and authors of MM books. I’m so pleased to have been able to do this for you for the 8th year. The fate of this blog and the giveaway is unclear right now. The domain is due for renewal in April 2019 and I’ve been seriously considering not renewing.

My life is not in a good place and I’ve been struggling to survive the past few years. As of the time of this writing, I just don’t see a way out of the dark place my family is currently and I don’t see a happy ending. I’ve gotten the rights back to all of my out of contract books which leaves only a couple of things at Decadent, one at Liquid Silver and a few self pubbed books. Just preparing for the end I guess. I’m trying to clear up as many loose ends as I can while I can do so with an explanation and not just the disappearance one day of Lex Valentine, Winterheart Design & Book Services, and this blog.

I thank you all for the years of support and love you’ve shown me. I wish you all the best of 2019 and beyond.

Au revoir,

It’s Been 8 Years?

I had to go back to the database of posts to figure it out. When an author mentioned on Facebook that my 25 Days of Christmas was a great idea, I said I’d been doing it for years. I couldn’t remember how long so I had to go back and look. And lo and behold, it’s been 8 years. That being said, here’s the announcement…

I’m still lining up the MM authors and as of right now, I haven’t received the information from everyone who committed. So, I guess I’m still taking authors. That’s good for them and for the readers. More work for me, but that’s okay. This is the season of giving. Lots of people have helped me out (and continue to do so) while I’ve been homeless and living in the RV. I need to give something back and money is out of the question because I just don’t have any.

I’ll be honest. It’s hard to put yourself out there day after day and admit to people that you’re in a bad place and need help. It’s been so bad for us, we’ve considered suicide a lot. It seems like every week or so we do. It’s exhausting to try to keep your hopes up when bad stuff continues to happen. Yes, there is a very small community of people who help us, who realize that the RV maybe wasn’t the best idea when the amount raised wasn’t enough to buy something truly viable. I have the fiercest of love for those people. They are determined that my family will survive this. They have more hope than I do. Because of these people, I know that I have to do this giveaway. I have to give something back in some small way.

This may be the last giveaway. I’m about 75% convinced to take this blog down and let the domain go. It’s an annual $14 that I wouldn’t have to spend if I let it go. I rarely come here to blog like I used to. It used to be my go to place to come and say whatever I wanted. When I look back at some of the blog post titles, I laugh. Pee in a Pickle Jar. Speshul. Can Vampires Be Gay? And there’s Gay Day posts that remind me of my friend Ethan Day whom we recently lost. Most of all, this blog is what led to me being published. If I hadn’t been blogging and posting snippets of my writing here, Jennifer MacKenzie would never have found me and encouraged me to submit something to a publisher. I wouldn’t have become Lex Valentine.

It’s with a heavy heart that I kick off this 8th Annual Christmas Giveaway because next year, sunlightsucks.com might not be here and there probably won’t be another giveaway. I live less than a paycheck away from being on the street, from losing everything, my job, my kitties, my life even despite the help we receive. I can’t write much. My graphics business is getting less and less work every week, including no work from publishers any longer. I’m not sure I’ll even be able to survive until this time next week let alone next year. But I’m determined to do this for 2018 even if it might be the last year.

I hope you all will visit this blog in record numbers in December. I hope I see lots of comments of readers trying to win the books the authors have generously donated. Every day, the blog will post a new day of books to be given away. A link to the blog post will go out on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Please share the daily posts to your feeds, your social media, your groups. Let’s make this the best year ever.

Thank you all for your support.

Flourishing Through Adversity

Let me start by saying this is not a short post. If you’re looking for short and fun, this ain’t it. I’m on a little bit of a rant but I’m also trying to reassure friends and readers who are finding it difficult to navigate the tidal wave of waters from the current administration of this country. I know I’ve said before that I wouldn’t get all political here, but sometimes I just have to. Especially since this morning the stress got to be too much for hubs and he blew up in such an out of control way, I had to yell at him, which I never do. And of course, it terrified all the babies and one peed on the floor.  I just have no words sometimes. Other times, I have to channel it into an almost rant. So here I go.

For those who wear Trump colored glasses (yes, I made those!) what I have to say today may not seem true nor resonate with you. That’s okay. You all can just pass on by since this post isn’t really for you. If you believe in alternative facts just keep going and don’t bother to read this or comment. I will, without malice, delete any pro-Trump/anti-what I’m saying comments unread. This isn’t the forum for those. There is enough negativity in this world and I’m not going to willingly subject myself to any more of it despite the fact that today’s post is indisputably political in nature which tends to draw out all the people who think differently than I do.

Just be aware that I bear you no ill will for being a Trump supporter. If you are one, that’s fine. Just don’t come to my blog or my Facebook feed and post your alternative facts in my space. I will unfriend you. I will block you. I will delete your Facebook posts and I will delete comments here if I have to. In return, I promise not to come to your space and post any proven facts or tell you that I think the POTUS is an irresponsible bully surrounded by people who will lie to support him (ie Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer) and people who got close to him in order to increase their own power base and agenda (Steve Bannon, Rex Tillerson.) You stay over there and I’ll stay over here, and we can get together when the subject is something we’re not polar opposites on. We’ll get along just fine this way. Respect my space and I’ll respect yours.

That being said, some of us feel as if we are living in a time of great adversity. We feel as if we were cheated during the election because our popular vote meant nothing for the second time that I can recall in my lifetime (Al Gore being the other one.) We believe the president (not going to capitalize it when he can’t even behave like one) is going to ruin our country, that he’s only there for the rich people, that the poor like myself are only going to suffer more under his leadership. We’re horrified by the way he uses social media to attack not only our allies (Australia) but our own federal judges (“so called” judges.) And we’re afraid of his ties to Putin, his closeness with Breitbart’s Bannon, the way he’s provoking Iran, needling the Israelis, banning Muslims and pretty much making the rest of the world community take a step back from us. He’s allowed Bannon to basically tell the world that the media needs to be shut up, restrained. His administration has been caught in numerous lies in the first three weeks and instead of apologizing for it they try to skew minds and reality by calling the lies alternative facts. That right there is where I personally took a step back.

When the government tries to get rid of or muzzle the media, when they spout lies that are proven to be untruths, and when they straight up push those lies on the people of this country, trying to make them believe that the truth is not the truth…that’s not a democracy. That’s Nazi Germany, Orwell’s 1984 and Nixon during Watergate. Which is why so many thousands of people have taken to the streets, something that has given me a spark of hope.

Let’s go to Dictionary.com for a moment and I’ll get back to the protests in a minute.

Fact [fakt]
noun
1.  something that actually exists; reality; truth:

2. something known to exist or to have happened:

3. a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true:

Yeah. No room for “alternative” facts there.  What the administration is saying may be alternative, but in no way are they facts. In actuality, they’re about as factual as the Bowling Green Massacre that Kellyanne Conway made up. And this is the pap that this administration is feeding us and insisting we eat. It’s no wonder we’re all nauseous.

Anyway, this adversity we live with daily, the fear that the global community will turn their backs on us because our POTUS is a bully and an authoritarian, the fear that he’ll let the apocalyptic Bannon, sitting on the National Security Council, talk him into eradicating radical Islamic terrorism by pushing the nuclear button, these are real fears that people live with daily now in this Trump ruled country. So how do we go about our daily lives now while living with very real fears?

Unfortunately, having lived the past year homeless, with fear a constant, daily companion, I’ve learned a thing or two. I can tell you unequivocally that yes, you can do it. No, it’s not optimal, but it’s doable. First and foremost, you need to take care of yourself. Even someone as poor as me finds small ways to take care of myself whether it’s a bottle of special lotion with witch hazel from Mother’s Market for my neuropathy or a small bag of sugar free dark chocolate covered mints, it’s something that makes me feel good. And for those few moments that the lotion or the candy makes me feel good, I rise above adversity. I found out Friday morning that my friend and mentor Steve Duff had died the night before. The only thing that has made me feel good since the moment I found out and right now was those damned chocolates.

To rise above adversity, to flourish even, you have to commit to not giving in to it. Don’t let the fear mongering of our current government take away all the things you enjoy most in life. Don’t stay holed up in your home, watching the news, waiting for the next bad thing to happen.  Or conversely, don’t stay away from the news just because there’s the possibility of more bad stuff happening. With this administration, we can pretty much guess that more bad stuff WILL happen. But don’t let the fear keep you from being informed, don’t let them drive you away from the news or other shows that tell you what’s happening in the world and your local area. I watch the morning news because I want to know if there are protests scheduled locally. I want to know what my community is doing to fight back. I want to know if other cities are protesting. I find hope in the fact that so many people across this great nation (yes, it was always great and doesn’t have to be made great again) are taking to the streets in a show of solidarity against a man and an administration that would turn our democracy into an authoritarian society.

But to flourish, you have to continue to find joy in your life wherever you can. Hug your kids. Pet your furry kids. Cuddle them, cuddle your partner, your spouse. Watch your favorite shows, go to the movies. Eat the foods you love. Read books. Write and write and write. And post the good stuff!

I know I need to do more writing. The first new material I’ve written in more than two years, a military MM novella Extraction, came out Nov 18, my oldest brother’s birthday. I haven’t written a whole lot since but I need to.

And speaking of my brother reminds me that he always rose above adversity when the world was scary. My brother Tom marched with MLK. He belonged to the Democratic Central Committee and should have been at the Ambassador Hotel the night Bobby Kennedy died, but he got the Asiatic flu. He wore a “Legalize Marijuana” button in the late 60’s, something kids today probably can’t even comprehend as having been an issue so long ago. I remember him and my parents chanting “Impeach him!” during Watergate. Today, I see how many ways Trump is like Nixon.

I might have been young during the Nixon administration but I come from a family of individuals who were not afraid to be political, not afraid to tell me what was going on. Cesar Chavez visited my father’s barbershop in Gonzales, CA.  So did Leon Panetta when he ran for congress. Panetta knows my brother who has worked as a California lobbyist.  My brother Tom, at 76 years old, is still a voting member of the Democratic Party.  He’s never given up on democracy despite all the bad stuff he’s seen and lived through and causes and candidates he fought for — Vietnam, Watergate, assassinations, impeachments, protests and the eventual legalization of marijuana at least at the state level.

We shouldn’t give up either. We have options even though we feel as if everyone, everything is against us. Trump’s been put on notice as of last night that the judiciary isn’t going to stand for him making executive orders that are unconstitutional. They aren’t going to stand for him calling out our federal judges like a bully on a playground. And ultimately, more of us voted for Hillary than for him and he’s not untouchable. If Nixon can be impeached so can Trump. So just think about that for a moment, and then remember that we need to rise above adversity.

Join me in rising above, in flourishing during adversity. Let’s write and read and enjoy what we can in this life. If you feel bad just reading for pure enjoyment, go get a copy of All the President’s Men and read about history and the tenacity of two reporters determined to get the truth even if it brought down a presidency. I’ve read it before. It’s an amazing read. I’m going to read Switched by NJ Walker, about a guy who was switched at birth. It sounds like a really emotional, angsty read.

Speaking of angsty reads, I’m about 20K from finishing Out of the Pocket, the sequel or companion really to Scrambling. If you thought Scrambling was angsty, Out of the Pocket blows it out of the water. The first five thousand words of this book won the Rebecca Award a couple years ago. I wrote the rest of the book under the influence of Percocet and ended up having to scrap everything but that first 5K and start over. Now, it’s become a really heartbreaking story of two men torn apart by their jobs in the NFL.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to watch the news and see if there’s anything else good today. And even if there isn’t, I’m going to spend an hour reading and an hour writing before I head off to work on book covers for Louisa Bacio and JM Dabney and begin adding books to Sean Michael’s website. Have a great, flourishing Sunday!

Weird Breakfast

I am of mixed ethnicity. My father was Filipino and my mother was Irish. Both loved to cook. Both loved foods from all over the world.  My father grew up eating Filipino food, rice, lots of fish and traditional Filipino cuisine. When he came to the US at the age of 14, he settled in Oakland and became a short order cook before he went into the Army. My mother grew up in the state of Washington, redneck Irish as my Aunt Ardelia used to say. She knew how to make traditional Irish food like corned beef and cabbage and soda bread. Since her mother’s family had come from Ireland and settled in West Virginia, my mom also grew up making southern food, biscuits, country gravy, fried chicken, collard greens with bacon, pork chops with red eye gravy. She grew her own veggies, canned them and made all kinds of other canned items like stewed tomatoes. She also made her own jams and jellies. But my mom had also been married before and my brother and sisters’ father had owned a Chinese restaurant in Seattle. My mom got the chef to teach her classic Chinese dishes like pineapple chicken, chow mein, and barbeque pork. Yum.

breakfastingredientsSo I grew up learning how to make all kinds of foods, breads and desserts. I make my version of some of the things I learned, but I also make things exactly as my parents did. And since my brother Tom had worked as a sous chef for years for Hyatt, I learned a few things from him too. Today, for breakfast, I made something that has influences from both my parents and my brother.

Raiding the fridge, I had some rice, eggs, and linguica. Linguica is a Portuguese sausage made with wine vinegar. It’s just my favorite sausage in the world. When I was a kid, the sausage came raw and my father would steam it in the cast iron skillet then fry it once the water had boiled away. My dad loved this sausage. He’d become a fan during his years living in Oakland. I don’t know how he discovered it, but I’m so glad he did because it’s so yummy!

I decided to make Filipino fried rice with linguica and eggs with curry, something my brother made for me when I was a kid. It sounds weird, but it tastes great! I think all my nieces and nephews grew up eating Uncle Tom’s curried eggs. I know my daughter certainly did. Curried eggs and fried rice is one of Annicka’s favorite foods. My brother made it for her all the time when she was small.

So I start out by checking out the rice. Rott bought it the day before at Flame Broiler. It’s cheaper to make it myself, but alas, in the motel I have no pot or rice cooker. Unfortunately, the idiots at Flame Broiler didn’t seal the lid on the bowl so the rice is hard and dried a little. I leave the lid cracked and stick the bowl in the microwave for 2 minutes. If the rice is still a little hard, I’ll add a tablespoon of water and nuke it again. Steamed rice isn’t difficult to bring back from a dried state, especially if you’re making fried rice out of it.

linguicasizzleI slice the linguica and fry it up in a pan. Sizzle, sizzle! I take it out of the pan when it’s crispy on the outside and dump in the steamed rice. I add salt (like potatoes, rice needs salt!) and garlic powder. My dad used to say that Filipino fried rice was never the same twice, which isn’t exactly true. See, Filipino fried rice is made with whatever you have on hand. My dad would make it with bacon, sausage, linguica, pork steak…whatever meat he had on hand. He loved making it with linguica which turns the rice orange from the linguica grease. He would always cook the meat first and then make the rice in the meat drippings. He felt that to not use the drippings was a waste. Now, my dad, unlike other Filipinos, was not a fan of dumping veggies in the rice, especially those stupid canned or frozen peas and carrots. He hated those. He would put fresh veggies in scrambled eggs or omeletes, but never fried rice. He did say it wasn’t Fililpino rice without fresh garlic or garlic powder though.

riceinpanOnce the rice is all saturated in the drippings and fried up, it’s time for eggs. Oooh…eggie weggs. To answer your question about whether I can handle eggs, the answer is YES. Hey, my dad was a short order cook! I can flip eggs with the best of them!

eggiewegNow, I’m not a fan of sunny side up eggs. I like em over easy. Before I flip them though, I gotta hit em with yellow curry powder. This is my brother Tom’s trick and it is a yummy one.

eggcurryYou can try it the first time with just a light sprinkle. If you like it, season it to taste the next time. I like a good, heavy sprinkle as you can see above.

overeasyThere they are, flipped and unbroken. Told you I could do it. 😉  Next, the eggs are dropped onto that rice fried in linguica drippings.

breakfastAnd last, but not least, I mess up that pretty picture by mixing the egg with the rice. Chop, chop, mix, mix, yolk all over the rice…My kid can tell you, it might look like a mashed up mess, but those curried fried eggs mixed with fried rice are sooooo good!

eggsandriceAnd there you have it, my weird breakfast. It’s not a one person meal so since Annicka isn’t here, about half or a little more than half goes into a bowl for dinner or breakfast tomorrow.  The babies don’t really like to eat the linguica, but they love the drippings, which I let them have to help with their fur balls.

I doubt you’ll get another post from me for at least a week. I don’t do breakfast during the work week. Actually, I often don’t do dinner during the work week. I just get too tired and a $1 taco from Del Taco sounds like heaven when I’m exhausted. So I don’t think I can do one of these posts, fun as they are, when I do make dinner, but you never know. Maybe I’ll be back in a day or two with some photos from dinner, just to prove I can do it.

SAK_Fb2On the writing front, I’m working on a novella for MLR Press and I hope to have it finished soon. VJ Summers and I are in talks with our editor at Loose Id regarding the possibility of them contracting Partners and us finishing the sequel, Masks. I have asked for my rights back to Scrambling, which is currently at Loose Id. I’m hoping to self-pub it for a lower price when I get it back in the fall. So anyone who wanted to read it, but didn’t care for the high price will have a chance to read it now. In fact, I’m considering going Kindle Unlimited with it. A lot of MM books do very well on KU and I think I may want Scrambling to have that chance.

Hope you’re having a wonderful, safe Independence Day!

LexV_signature_sm