NoH8

Last Tuesday, I took an impromptu vacation day and went to Los Angeles with Z.A. Maxfield. We went to a high school that was having a GLBT Fair. Yes, I heard a couple of whispers of “grannies” as I walked around so I know my gray hair didn’t go unnoticed. However, the kids weren’t exactly the reason I was there. I went to get my picture taken by celebrity fashion photographer Adam Bouska. Adam, who shares my birthday today, is the co-founder of the NoH8 Campaign. The photos he took were for NoH8.

I’m sure you’ve all seen the photos. Silver duct tape on the mouth. White shirts. The NoH8 tattoo on the cheek. Like this one of Adam himself.

The campaign began as a silent protest by Adam and his partner Jeff Parshley. The duct tape symbolizes voices being silenced by California’s Proposition 8 which amended the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. The photos took off like a rocket with ordinary people being photographed as well as celebrities and people like Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach and  Lt. Dan Choi who were activists calling for the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

As authors of gay romance, as well as people who believe in equality in all things for all people, ZAM and I had a deep seated need to do this, to have our photos taken by Adam for this campaign. And yes, both of us will be displaying these photos prominently on our websites.

This campaign resonated with me on personal and professional levels. On the personal side, my high school sweetheart is gay. I love the man dearly and the idea that I can marry Rott, but David can’t marry Vince – when they clearly even have a better relationship than Rott and I have – just pisses me the eff off. My parents raised me to ahbor injustice and my heart breaks for couples who would love to get married but can’t. Now, I’m one of those people who also feels that it’s a piece of paper and in my heart, I know who I belong with regardless of the legalities of this country. I know David is one of those people too. We feel things deeply in our hearts and that is where our commitment comes from. We could show that commitment to another without a marriage license. But the very fact that politics don’t allow David to have that license should he choose to go that route with his relationship makes me very angry.

On the professional side, as an author with a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell novella where my heroes have to go to Massachusetts to be married, supporting this campaign is a no brainer. In Afterburner, my heroes get married in Massachusetts, a state that allows same-sex marriage, and California accepts that marriage as legal despite not allowing gays to be married in the Golden State. In the sequel to Afterburner, which is a Christmas story I’ve just finished, my heroes are retired from the Air Force and happy that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone. I don’t say it in the story, but I know my guys and they aren’t happy that same-sex marriage in California is still not legal. Breath of Heaven, an Afterburner Christmas sequel, will be available at MLR Press on December 15.

So ZAM and I did this and we had a great time. Adam and I wished each other an early Happy Birthday and the happiness in the man just radiated out to everyone who was there. He’s a good soul doing a good thing for mankind. And ZAM and I feel really good to be part of it. The only thing that would have made our day better was if fellow author James Buchanan had been able to join us.

 Now, it’s time for someone a lot more beautiful than me! It’s still Monday, although it’s Halloween, so it’s time for a Marcus!

Marcus does a lot of stuff for charities like Peta so he’s not a celeb who doesn’t give back to the world. It’s one of the things I like about him.

Now, before I go, if you’re thinking of reading and not leaving a comment, I’m going to give you a reason to comment today. One lucky commenter will win their choice of a book from my backlist. Can’t beat that now can you? Say Hello or Happy Birthday or Cool Marcus, whatever, and you could be reading one of my books by tomorrow night!

Happy Halloween to you all! Don’t eat too much candy! I’m off to have birthday cake with my coffee so have a good one!

Shiny Stuff

I’ll admit to being distracted this weekend by shiny stuff. To be honest, they were photos. I was looking for one kind of photo to do a cover and found something else that would work on a different cover. And so on, and so on. Every time I’d look for something, I’d end up with something for a different project. They all had to be done, but they didn’t have to be done in the order in which I did them.

Probably one good reason I got distracted so easily is this darn cold. It’s on the way out, but the lingering cough makes me feel like I’ve gone a few rounds with the heavyweight champion of the world and taken every blow to the ribs and gut. The problem is the way women’s muscles work when they cough. What tightens and spasms are the ones over the ribs and lower abdomen, the ones on the sides of the waist and the groin muscles. Apparently, or so my doc says, men use different muscles when they cough, muscles they use a lot anyway so they don’t get the same muscle aches as women when they have a bad cough. Anyway, every time I cough, it leaves me gasping for air and with muscles spasms sort of like the heaves. I lose track of what I’ve been doing and end up off on tangents. If the work I did this weekend wasn’t so darned pretty, I’d be growling “Eff you, Cold!” for more reasons that the obvious ones of discomfort.

So here’s what I ended up with at the end of the weekend. A total count of three banners, a Twitter background page, an avatar, and four covers. None of which were for me. The stuff that hasn’t been approved yet, I won’t post, but the stuff that’s already been finalized is below.

So pretty! So sexy! Which leads me to something – or rather someone – who is also pretty and oh, so sexy! It’s time for a Marcus!

I want to pillow fight with him! Of course, I don’t look that good in my underwear…Leastways, not any more! *Winces at the thought of my upcoming birthday* That does remind me of something though. This year my birthday is on a Monday so I think I’ll give away some books. Make sure you come back on Halloween for a chance to win.

Okay, that about wraps it up for me and my sore ribs. Have yourselves a great Monday!

Flu Shot

Yeah, I got one last week. The nurse wouldn’t give one to a co-worker with a cold. She said the shot lowers your immune system and if you have a cold you’ll get worse.  Well, that explains all the people who get sick after they get the shot. Their immune system must have already been low and they must have already been sickening.  The shot just hastens it. Or if your system is just weak, whoever has a bug can give it to you much easier after you have the shot.

So my co-worker with his cold stood next to me and found out he couldn’t get the shot. I sat down, got the shot and obviously breathed in his germs or something because voila! I have a cold. Sniffles, sore throat, croaky voice, cough, and a fever. Unpleasant to say the least. And I’m joking about my co-worker getting me sick. I’ve been run down for weeks because of stress. I’m sure it wouldn’t have taken much to get me sick after the shot took me down another peg or two.

Rott has been feeding me vitamins, Power-C vitamin water, soup and cupcakes all weekend. Okay, the cupcakes were my idea. This morning, I still had the fever. So I’m up for a bit checking my work email to make sure nothing needs my attention from home (yes, I am the computer geek who can get on the network from home) and then it’s back to bed and maybe some downtime with Z.A. Maxfield’s Book of Daniel. I need to read that one.

Anyway kudos to all of you who got your shots and didn’t get shot down. This is the first time it’s happened to me.  I rather think I’m gonna lose my voice. Some of you are probably thinking that’s a good thing and you might be right. 😉

Here’s a Marcus and then I’m off to bed to let the babies pile on me.

He looks uber healthy there. I need healthy so I’m hoping the photo rubs off on me. *snort* Have a better than I’m having Monday!

Bushed

I’m bushed. My body aches. I walked forever yesterday in West Hollywood with authors Z.A. Maxfield and James Buchanan. We went to the West Hollywood Book Fair to look around, attend a panel and meet fellow MLR Press author Haley Walsh who also writes as Jeri Westerson. The panel was on the second floor of the West Hollywood Library and the plate glass windows behind Jeri offered a view of the Pacific Design Center and the gorgeous LA day. (See photo below.) We saw Meredith Baxter Birney, Florence Henderson, Kevin Sorbo, Julie Newmar and some actors whose names we couldn’t remember. I recognized D.P. Lyle, a local physician who is a writer and a consultant on many TV shows. He’d been to a meeting of the OC Romance Writers of America and talked to us about plotting the perfect murder. I bought a copy of his book Forensics for Writers.

The most interesting person we met was Christopher Rice. I spent my late teens and early twenties devouring his mother’s books. My sister gave me a copy of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire on my 17th birthday and I was hooked. Christopher is a New York Times best-selling author in his own right, in a genre different than his mother’s. He was charming, funny, intelligent and not ego bound at all. In fact, he didn’t even talk about his books until someone asked. He moderated a panel on marketing GLBT mystery books and he let the authors on the panel talk about their books and answer the questions about marketing. He let them shine and only got into his own work when asked. He’s a very good looking man who is extremely charismatic. It pretty much made my day to meet him.

But, to be honest, it was a lot for me, my arthritis and my asthma to deal with. I had a couple of moments where I thought I’d never be able to take another breath or another step. James and ZAM looked after me though and let me stop for a breather and plied me with water and Coke so I could re-hydrate and pop meds. It’s great to have good friends. They rode elevators UP with me and made sure I was okay to walk DOWN stairs. It was a great day. Only now, I’m a tad sunburnt and sore and utterly bushed.

The sunburn’s just a smidge of red on my chest below my collarbone. Early on I found a parasol with skulls on it and bought to keep the sun off. It’s a very cool wooden parasol. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized I could have taken my Ellora’s Cave “Bad Girls of Romance” umbrella with me and garnered a little attention for myself. LOL

I did do an unusually not me thing though. I brought attention to myself by speaking up. Man, I have a tough time doing that in public but I did it. When Christopher Rice asked if anyone in the audience did book trailers, my hand shot right up and I said I wrote as Lex Valentine for MLR Press and I did videos from my design site winterheart.com. That was bold of me. I’m not sure what came over me. It’s more my style to just sit there dumbly and not say anything.

One other noteworthy thing: I left my car at home and let Rott drop me off to meet ZAM who drove to James’s house. (James drove into WeHo.) That means ZAM is now the only one of my author and online friends to have met the elusive Rott. At least she can attest that I really do have a handsome man in my life and that he’s not just something I made up so it doesn’t look like I’m an old spinster lady. LOL

All in all, a great day for me that I’ll be paying for today with fistfuls of Tylenols. But it was worth it.

Now, some yummeh Marcus for a Monday and I’m off to work!

Oh, baby! Sexy stuff! That’s a gorgeous photo of Marcus. Have yourselves a great Monday!

Commute

When I think of commuting I am reminded of the time I used to drive from Huntington Beach to West LA and from Huntington Beach down to La Brea Tar Pits. Well, across the street from the tar pits actually. Those were gnarly drives. But I was younger then and didn’t think too much of the drives for quite awhile until it really started to get to be a drag because I was losing a really good chunk of my day sitting on the freeway. More recently, at least in the last 12 years that I’ve worked at the cemetery, I’ve had commutes into Santa Ana-Orange from Huntington Beach and Westminster, neither of which are much of a commute when placed beside the commute I used to have.

The thing about commutes is that I usually think of them as total freeway time. And in the past, for me anyway, they always have been mostly freeway time. The new commute has very little freeway time. Most of the time is spent on surface streets and a stint down my own road, Carbon Canyon. The canyon road reminds me of the highway between Salinas and Monterey, the one that winds past Laguna Seca. I’ve driven that road more times than I could ever count. After all it’s home turf for me and I lived there 29 years. I made a lot of trips down that road in nearly 30 years. Every time I go down Carbon Canyon Road I think of home as in where I grew up. But honestly, this canyon is becoming home to me now in a very short space of time. I like it so much in the canyon that I don’t mind the drive. As commutes go, it ain’t much of a commute and hardly any of it is spend with my foot on the brake inching my way up the freeway.

Sure, the Chino Hills residents use my road as a commuter short cut to their homes just over the county line into San Bernardino County. And yeah, that means that sometimes I do spend some time with my foot on the brake inching along. But it’s not on the freeway. It’s on the canyon road itself which is loaded with stuff to look at. Personally, I’m a little fascinated by the trees that were burned in the 2008 fire. I stare at them and stare at them as I inch along. Most of the canyon has grown back it’s vegetation so it’s not very burned out looking but I try to imagine what it must have looked like and it creeps me out a little. It’s still not much of a commute despite the crawling that sometimes occurs on Carbon Canyon Road. And I’m home in about 30-40 minutes.

Home’s the key word here. I love coming home. I love the canyon and the wildlife. The longer I’m here, the less that the word “home” means Monterey County. I guess I’ve found my place here in Southern California. I never would have thought it would be out at the edge of a once burned out canyon but there ya have it.

Since it’s Monday, it’s time for a Marcus.

That would make a nice avatar. He’s got great arms! Hope you all have a great Monday!