Apr 20

#DayofSilence: What Does It Mean To You?

April 20th is GLSENs DAY of SILENCE

What is the Day of Silence?

The Day of Silence is a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from middle school to college take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT.

Why do we need a Day of Silence?

GLSEN’s 2009 National School Climate Survey found that nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school and more than 30% report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety. Moreover, two of the top three reasons students said their peers were most often bullied at school were actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression, according to From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, a 2005 report by GLSEN and Harris Interactive. Thus, the Day of Silence helps bring us closer to making anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and name-calling unacceptable in America’s schools.

“Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech.” — Martin Fraquhar Tupper

“Silence remains, inescapably, a form of speech.” — Susan Sontag

Every year, countless numbers of LGBT youth are harassed, threatened, beaten, bullied, or killed because of who they are. The silence they must endure is heartbreaking, as victims of LGBT bullying, name-calling, and violence are less likely to report it to the proper authorities.

Despite all of the hatred, bigotry, and violence, every year, thousands of students, educators, parents, and other allies take a stand against intolerance in a single act of solidarity: silence. The Day of Silence (www.dayofsilence.org), however, seeks to turn that silence into power as people all around the country vow to stay silent throughout the day in order to show their support for their LGBT peers and to stand up against the silence their peers face.

I know the site mentions students, up to college, but I would challenge you, no matter what you do today, to show your support by joining in the silence to end silence because the everyone is a victim if no one speaks out.

What Does the Day of Silence Mean to You?

For me it’s a way to loudly show my support of positive GLBT activities, people, organizations and to show my contempt for all hate. We lose too many good, loving people to hate, either through violence and murder or through suicide. In both cases it’s the fault and direct result of hate and bullying, crimes that too often are ignored.

Share what the Day of Silence means to you below or at http://www.dayofsilence.org/giveaway/! Make sure to use #DayofSilence on your tweets so everyone can see what’s in your heart, if not in your voice.

Want to Show Your Support?

Click here to send a message of support to LGBT and allied students staying silent for LGBT Equality in schools on Day of Silence!

Apr 19

Booking Through Thursdays ♥ Pet Peeves

btt button

A while ago, I interviewed my readers for a change, and my final question was, “What question have I NOT asked at BTT that you’d love me to ask?” I got some great responses and will be picking out some of the questions from time to time to ask the rest of you. Like now.

Bookish Sarah asks:

What are your literary “pet peeves”?

       

I can’t stand people who look down on those of us who love to read as if we’re mentally damaged. Claim it’s a waste. What I’m finding even worse lately is people that act like authors don’t do anything so the books they make fun of us reading are devalued even more. As an aspiring author and avid devour of the written word I find that attitude indefensible and ignorant!

I know she probably meant within books but I can forgive a lot, but ignorance isn’t on that list, lol.

What’s your peeve?

Don’t forget to leave a link to youractual response(so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

Apr 18

Guest Author Wednesdays ♥ Andrew Grey

Hello everyone! I’m thrilled to have M/M Romance Author Andrew Grey with me today. Don’t forget to say hi and leave him a comment below.

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing). He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

He loves to hear from fans:

  Website    Blog  Twitter    Facebook    Dreamspinner    Email 

1933 Gold Double Eagle and Story Inspirations

The inspiration for a story sometimes comes from places you never expect. Legal Tender was inspired by an internet story about the 1933 Gold Double Eagle coin featured in the story. The coins I used are real. Most of the remaining examples are either with the Smithsonian or at Fort Knox. The coins were minted in 1933 and never distributed. In 1934 the government recalled all gold coins in circulation and replaced them with paper money, placing the gold in the US gold reserves at Fort Knox.

Since then, there have been a few examples of these coins surfacing. Once was sold to the King of Egypt and he received an export visa. Because the visa was issued by the government, this coin was auctioned off a number of years ago for millions and is the only 1933 Gold Double Eagle in circulation. All others have been confiscated by the government because they are still officially government property.

It has long been speculated that some of the coins were actually released and are out there somewhere. Maybe they’re hidden in an attic in your family home, who knows? I devised this story around that very notion.

          

I’ve read Legal Tender and loved it. Take a moment to sneak a peek at an excerpt. Hope you enjoy as much as I did!

          

Legal Tender

Purchase Dreamspinner Press

Timothy left home when he was eighteen to get away from his reckless mother, but he never stopped visiting his grandfather, who taught him what love was all about. Now that Grampy has passed away, Timothy finds that the old man’s legacy is everything Timothy has dreamed of—and more.

Inside the house Timothy loves so much is a cache of coins with historical value… and a mystery, because one of them isn’t supposed to exist. In memory of his grandfather, Timothy sets out to make sure that the mystery and the coins are given their due honor. In his quest to keep the government from confiscating his grandfather’s legacy, he meets Joiner, whose interest in Timothy is as clear and open as Timothy is guarded. There are things about Timothy’s life and his past he doesn’t want anyone to know, not even the kind man who is helping him with the complications of legal tender.

          

“Morning, Gerald,” he called before dumping the bags on the growing pile.

“You’ve been busy,” Gerald commented as he made his way over.

“I couldn’t sleep, so I got an early start.” Timothy looked at the pile of full, black trash bags. “I bought one of the huge boxes of bags, and that’s only the main floor. I’m probably not going to have enough.” Timothy smiled. At least he was going to have as much crap out of his house as possible. “I better get back at it if I ever want to get finished.” Timothy headed back inside, waving to Gerald.

Timothy knew the upstairs was going to be worse, but he used the same strategy as downstairs. Most of the rooms didn’t take too long, but the bathrooms were filthy and took a long time to clean and undisgustify. Timothy hauled load after load of bags to the curb, getting every room cleaned except for the one he knew was piled full. Standing in the hallway, he looked around and was deciding if it was time to get lunch when he heard a loud knock on the front door. Grabbing a load of trash, he descended the stairs and pulled open the door. He expected it to be Dieter or Gerald. He was not expecting to see his mother.

“What are you doing?” she demanded. “You can’t throw away my stuff!” Timothy stepped back and tried to close the door, but she bustled inside the house. “All that is mine!” Her eyes looked glazed, and Timothy wondered what she was on now.

“I can throw away anything I like. I found all your drug crap, and I’ll call the police and have you arrested right now if you don’t leave. I bet they can find your prints on the syringes and other stuff. That, combined with the fact that you’re high as a kite, should be enough to land you in jail.”

“Is there a problem?” Gerald said from the doorway. “You need to leave. This house and everything in it are Timothy’s to do with what he likes.” Gerald sounded so confident that Timothy saw his mother waver, her head bobbing back and forth between them like some sort of demented bobblehead. “You are not to set foot on this property again.”

“Or what?” she asked, folding her hands over her deflated-looking chest.

“You’ll be arrested, and I bet if they do, they could find plenty on you.” Gerald stared back at her, and Timothy stepped to the door.

“Get out now!” Timothy reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell. “All it takes is three buttons and your crackwhore ass is in jail!” Timothy was barely holding himself together.

“I’m still your mother,” she said, stepping toward Timothy with her hand raised. Timothy braced for her attack but saw her stumble over the threshold, and she went flying, landing half in and half out of the door. When she got up, her nose was bleeding and her face was all scraped. She wavered and stumbled down the stairs.

“You stopped being my mother a long time ago, bitch!” Timothy cried before slamming the door. He looked out the window and saw his mother turn to look back, blood running down her face. She wiped it onto her blouse, barely noticing what it was. Timothy saw her get into a car, and after a few moments, it sped off. He didn’t know if she was driving, but he heard Gerald on the phone.

“My name is Gerald Young, and I want to report a possible incidence of driving under the influence. I suspect both drugs and alcohol. A dark sedan, license number BRH-1208. The vehicle is probably heading west on Newberry toward Capital.” Gerald explained Timothy’s mother’s behavior and provided additional information before disconnecting the call. “That should take care of them,” Gerald said with a smile, shoving his phone into his pants pocket.

“Thank you,” Timothy said.

“No problem. Dieter and I were about to get some lunch, and we were wondering if you’d like to go along. From the size of the pile of bags, you could use a break.”

“I’d love one.” Timothy didn’t want to tell Gerald that he also really didn’t want to be alone right now. “Let me wash up.”

“We’ll meet you at the house,” Gerald said with a smile before leaving. Timothy locked the door and washed his hands in the kitchen sink before leaving the house. He met Dieter and Gerald at their place and rode with them to a small Middle Eastern restaurant. Once they were done, Timothy rode back and headed over to his house, with Dieter and Gerald right behind. They had insisted on helping, and together they tackled the room full of junk. There wasn’t much in the room that was worth anything. Not that Timothy had thought there would be, but he had to look at everything before throwing it away. Finally, that room was done, and Timothy thanked Gerald and Dieter for their help. They had an appointment and had to go. “You call if your mother shows up again,” Gerald told him at the front door.

“I will, and thank you both for the help,” Timothy said at the front door before closing it behind them. He really wanted to go himself, but there was still more to do. He hadn’t been in the attic yet, and he wanted to know if there was anything up there. His mother never went up there. When he was a child, he’d found out his mother had a fear of the attic and refused to climb the steps, so he’d often played amid all the stuff that Grampy and Grammy had put up there. After carrying out the last of the trash bags, he climbed to the attic door and opened it, slowly ascending the dark stairs.

When he reached the top, he located the light chain and pulled it. The light bulb came on, and dust motes floated in the air. Timothy saw that all the stuff was still there. Boxes and trunks lined the edges of the floor. The space wasn’t full, but it never had been. He was simply amazed that Grampy and Grammy’s old things were still there. Timothy walked around the room, which spanned the entire top of the house. Everything looked the same. Timothy bent down and opened the lid on one of the trunks filled with old clothes. He could hear Grampy’s voice telling him how Grammy had once worn the dresses inside. Timothy picked one up carefully as he listened to Grampy’s voice in his head telling him about the first time he’s seen Grammy. He’d said it was love at first sight.

Setting the dress back in the trunk, he closed the lid and looked around some more. He smiled and moved one of the trunks aside. The small doorway was still there. When Timothy was young, he and Grampy had built a play place in the attic. No one knew it was there except the two of them. It was their special place. Remember the stories, Timmy. I put it where you always played. Grampy’s voice played in his head. He had told Timothy that over and over again, and as Timothy stared at the door, he wondered if there could be something to Grampy’s words.

He suddenly knew what Grampy had meant. I saved it all for you, Timmy. Whatever “all” meant. Kneeling on the floor, Timothy unlatched the door and opened it, peering inside. Of course he could see nothing, because he and Grampy had always used flashlights. But he didn’t have one. Opening the door further, Timothy closed his eyes and remembered what the room looked like inside. He stuck his head inside again, and a small amount of light shone in through the open doorway, just enough that he could see the room was empty. Leaning further inside, Timothy ran his hand along the angled wall that formed the underside of the roof. Grampy had lined it for him before putting up the wall, and it felt smooth. Then his hand touched a ridge near the limit of his reach. He couldn’t tell anything more, so he backed out of the doorway and stood back up. There was something there, or at least something was different.

Heart pounding, Timothy hurried down the stairs and out the front door, locking it behind him. He needed a flashlight if he was going to find out what was there. “It’s probably nothing,” he told himself more than once as he climbed into his car and sped off to the nearest drugstore. He told himself to calm down even as he entered the store and bought a cheap flashlight and some batteries. Then he hurried back to the house, his heart racing, and rushed back up to the attic, carrying the bag. Putting the batteries in the light, Timothy turned it on and climbed into the small door. There was definitely a spot in the ceiling where it looked like a hole had been cut and patched over. Pressing on the spot caused it to move slightly, and Timothy pressed harder, but it did nothing more than give a little. Backing out once again, Timothy looked around for something he could use as a pry bar and found Grampy’s old toolbox. Inside, he found a handmade screwdriver and carried that back into the little hideout with him.

Wedging it into the edge, Timothy worked the piece of wood free until it fell onto the floor, but nothing followed. “This is stupid,” he told himself even as he reached into the hole, feeling around the edge until his hand brushed against cloth. Timothy worked it free and pulled it out of the hole before backing out of the door for what he hoped was a final time.

The bag jingled as he carried it to the light, and it was heavy too. Opening it under the bulb, Timothy reached inside. Sure enough, they felt like coins, and with his heart racing, he grabbed a few and brought them into the light. They shone as bright and new as the day they were minted. Gold.

-Legal Tender

          

To find out more about Andrew and the entire series Legal Tender is a part of, visit the Bottled Up series page @ Andrew Grey’s website

Apr 11

Guest Author Wednesdays ♥ Dianne Hartsock

Hello everyone! I’m thrilled to have M/M Romance Author Dianne Hartsock with me today as my first ever author for Guest Author Wednesdays ♥. Each Wednesday I will feature an author who writes GLBTQ Romance. So, without further ado . . .

Dianne lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play.

She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write her tales. There’s something about being cooped up in the house while it pours rain outside and a fire crackles on the hearth inside that kindles her imagination.

Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which she says is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

She loves to hear from fans:

      Blog  Twitter    Facebook    Goodreads     

Don’t forget to say hi and leave her a comment below.

Erotic = Erotica + Love

Thank you so much, Tempeste, for having me as your guest today. You know, there seems to be a bit of confusion between what’s erotic romance and erotica. I’ve even had one publishing house describe my work as ‘borderline pornography’ but that’s another story! Continue reading

Apr 09

Beliefs, Love, Bullying . . .

I know, I know . . . I talked last week about bullying and yet, here I am again. Well, yes, yes I am. You see, one of my children came home from playing with a neighbor friend and was upset, crying. While at his friend’s house, my one son heard the mom talking to a friend of hers – not an odd thing, right? Well, no. But, what my son overheard is what sent him home, scared.

I teach my children that love is love, no matter the gender, race, look, ability or disability, etc. Period! What my son heard was his friends mom and friend discussing how all fags deserve to die. How they are all pedophiles out to hurt and corrupt children. How they all want to _________ (fill in the blank with hate and vile wickedness).

Now, my son knows I’m bi. He knows that many of my friends, including my best friend since I was an infant, are gay, bi, lesbian, or in one case, defines self as a love-sexual – love over gender since hearts don’t have sex organs themselves. It’s actually a pretty fun lecture to hear, but I digress. My son knows all this, loves many of my friends as family and was terrified that something bad was going to happen to them because of people like his friend’s mother.

So, there I sat, trying to calm, comfort, and explain to my elementary school aged son that some people don’t understand how to truly love and that we must not hate them, but that he should probably not hang out over there anymore.

He wanted me to go over and explain that being different didn’t mean bad, and I wanted to cry myself. How to explain to my young child that those that hate aren’t interested in learning, especially without making it sound like I’m being just as judgmental as the friends mom.

We’ve all heard it before, right? The “you have to be like us or you’re evil” speeches? I know I’ve heard them a million times with a million different differences. Hell, I was even told by a friends S.O. that since I was bi, I was a perversion. That only straight and gay people were normal. That those of us, like me, that don’t see the wrapping, but the heart inside, are somehow less or sick because we “can’t make up our minds” or “we can’t be trusted because we all cheat” or my favorite, “God isn’t wishy-washy, so being bi can’t be natural. *Head tilt**Blink* WHAT?

Yes folks, even gays can be bigoted bullies, lol.

But, how do you explain any of that to a small child? Or his older brother who came in during all this and wanted to go have words with the “stupid woman.”

“What have I always told you is the law here?” I asked them both. “Other than the house rules.”

“That we can do and choose what we want as long as we don’t harm ourselves or others,” my older one explained. “But, she’s harming people with her hate and lies,” he continued.

And that’s the issue, really. Her hateful words were hurting others, and not just my son. How many people are hurt each day by hate? By those that believe they are the only ones that are right, true, pure, worthy? Even worse, that often use religion to hide behind . . .

I was taught that the Golden Rule, was “Do unto others as you would have them do unto to you,” not “Be like me or die.” Hmm, somehow those two thought just don’t connect for me.

Now, I could choose to ignore the mom and just keep my son away from her, which was my plan, but such was not to be. Not when she stopped by, worried about my son and hoping I would talk to him about the lies and sickness he had said to her.

My curiosity was piqued at that point. What had my young child said that was so bad?

She went on to explain that he had interrupted her talking with a friend, told her she was bad and lying about good people, and had then stormed off. *My little one had failed to mention he had yelled at friends mom, lol.*

Once I got her to explain what he had called her a lair about, things got interesting, though I reserve the right to cringe over some of what she said as she went into a lecture about decency, faith, morals, blah, blah . . .

Finally, I asked, “So, what you’re saying is that I should hate you because you aren’t married and never have been, right? I should say bad thing about you to my kids and anyone else that will listen about you? I should call your kids nasty words and treat them as less worthy of love and care because of you? I mean, you committed a few sins to get them right?”

She stood there staring at me, mouth agape. After sputtering a bit she finally said it wasn’t the same at all, she wasn’t a pervert out to destroy children or society. I really have to wonder how I’m destroying society by loving whom I love.

*Mind you, I have no actual problem with her having never been married. It is not my business why she chose not to marry her children’s father. It was simply the first thing I could think of that was also a sin by her supposed moral code.*

I don’t think she heard a word I said after that, and frankly, I don’t care. I probably should, but I cannot find the patience within myself to truly fight it out with her. I teach my children by example and hope I do a good job. I always strive to think about what I say and how I act to and about others.

Love is the law at our house. What is the law in yours?

Do you judge others by their orientation, ability/disability, monetary or social status, clothes, speech, past . . . Or do you judge by who they are inside, how they treat others and themselves? Do you see the wonderful person or only the wrapper?

Let me end by saying that while I can’t force the mom in the story above to love instead of hate, I can teach my children and live my life by those rules, and hope that by living it, others will see the love and joy too.

Stand up for love. Stand up for yourself. Stand up for your friends. Stand up for what’s right. You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to be the same. But, accepting that different is okay is the best gift you can give the world.

We have enough hate, violence, and bullies. We have enough death without bullying others until they give up and die.

What we need is more love, understanding, and acceptance.

Which are you going to stand for? Which are you going to teach?

No one is perfect, but as for me and mine, LOVE IS THE LAW.

 

Apr 02

Bullying = Abuse and Terrorism

Let’s start by looking at some definitions of just exactly what a “bully” is:

  • A person who hurts, persecutes, or intimidates weaker people.
  • A person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people.
  • Persistent unwelcome behavior, mostly using unwarranted or invalid criticism, nit-picking, fault-finding, also exclusion, isolation, being singled out and treated differently, being shouted at, humiliated, and much more.
  • A form of abuse.

As the last definition states, bullying is abuse, but really it’s abuse and terrorism combined. It’s not just a kids thing. It’s not a ‘boys will be boys’ thing. It’s a very real and oft-times deadly form of abuse against the body, mind, and soul of the victim.

But, you know what’s worse than bullying?

Knowing about the abuse and doing nothing to stop it. While it’s true, you can’t stop everyone determined to hurt others, you can speak up, speak out against the hate, fear, and ignorance that takes the lives and souls of people, even young children, every year.

BULLY is a documentary, only available at the moment in limited run, that shows how prevalent this epidemic is and how it can destroy the lives of those bullies, as well as their friends and families when things escalate to suicide or murder.

I would urge you, whether you can watch BULLY yet or not, to find out more about what you can do to help stop the abuse. Take a stand!

* Hands and Words Are Not For Hurting Project – http://handsproject.org/

* The Anti-Bully Blog – http://antibullyingblog.blogspot.com/

* http://www.bullyonline.org/schoolbully/index.htm has some great articles on school, family, and workplace bullying and what you can do about it.

Mar 26

Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act includes LGBT domestic violence survivors

Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act includes LGBT domestic violence survivors

The bill would also provide funding for programs that serve those in the LGBT community who experience domestic violence, and prohibit discrimination in funding based on gender.

“Is the violence any less real, is the danger any less real because you happen to be gay or lesbian? I don’t think so,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California.

Thank you, Sen. Feinstein. While I support the idea of the anti-violence bill, this particular point made me sit up and take notice. Just because a man is gay doesn’t mean he can’t be abused. Just because a woman is a lesbian doesn’t mean she is safe from being abused.

Center for American Progress survey estimates 30 percent of same-sex partnerships experience domestic violence.

How sad is this. Like we don’t have enough trouble with outside haters, we have to worry about our own. And, sadly, you can’t just look at someone and know if they are or will turn into an abuser.

I’m also glad that the wording means that men can get help because just as a woman can abuse a woman, she can abuse a man as well. Sad but true. I’ve known a couple of men that could have used this kind of legal support. Both were ashamed to admit to being abused. As men they thought it made them look weak or that no one would believe them. Luckily for them, they had friends that stood up and by them when they finally decided to escape both the physical and emotional pain their partners put them through.

Please support bills like this, and the senators that vote for the bill. Also, and more importantly, if you or a friend/loved one is suffering abuse, get help. There are programs and community support. If not in your area then look to your friends for help. No one should be hurt, mentally, emotionally, or physically. Ever!

Mar 24

Welcome to my new site!

Welcomtmnesite!

.

Please pardon my dust as I set up my new web-site. Monday’s will be my main post day but you will see me other days as well, never fear.

I will be adding many things to the site as I move toward completing my WIP and seeking a publisher for my dreams and desires.

Leave me a note and say hi.

 

Tempeste O'Riley

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