Monthly Archives: May 2015

Honoring Those Who Gave us Everything…Then and Now #MFRWAuthor

When I contemplated talking about Memorial Day, my mind went several different directions (no surprise there) I thought about my uncle Dick who died in Korea…I once read a letter he wrote home explaining why he believed he needed to be there. I thought about the young sailors I met while living in Japan. When they were in port I’d meet them at the roller skating rink in Yokosuka, or visit them in the hospitals…at least those lucky enough to come back. I thought about wars extending back through time. Then as now, young people fought against each other to fulfill the wishes of others. Always, The Charge of the Light Brigade plays through my head. A tragic loss of brave young men, following misunderstood orders potentially tainted by personal animosity. The truth of historical events does not always live up to the stories we’ve been told.

Tennyson eulogized those who had followed orders and would never return home:

During the research for this blog, I came across another poem, written by another favorite poet. Apparently this poem never received the attention of Tennyson’s stirring words, addressing as it does the all too frequent failure of society to recognize those who fought in their defense. Sadly, this lack is not just a modern problem.

The Last of the Light Brigade
Sir Rudyard Kipling 4/28/1890
There were thirty million English who talked of England’s might,
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.

They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four!

They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, “Let us go to the man who writes
The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites.”

They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song;
And, waiting his servant’s order, by the garden gate they stayed,
A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.

They strove to stand to attention, to straighten the toil-bowed back;
They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed,
They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.

The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and “Beggin’ your pardon,” he said,
“You wrote o’ the Light Brigade, sir. Here’s all that isn’t dead.
An’ it’s all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin’ the mouth of hell;
For we’re all of us nigh to the workhouse, an’ we thought we’d call an’ tell.

“No, thank you, we don’t want food, sir; but couldn’t you take an’ write
A sort of ‘to be continued’ and ‘see next page’ o’ the fight?
We think that someone has blundered, an’ couldn’t you tell ’em how?
You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now.”

The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with “the scorn of scorn.”
And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.

They sent a cheque to the felon that sprang from an Irish bog;
They healed the spavined cab-horse; they housed the homeless dog;
And they sent (you may call me a liar), when felon and beast were paid,
A cheque, for enough to live on, to the last of the Light Brigade.*

O thirty million English that babble of England’s might,
Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night;
Our children’s children are lisping to “honour the charge they made – ”
And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!


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What We Do for Love #MFRWAuthor

Back to moody melodies on Sunday, and Johnny Mathis. I haven’t kept up on more modern singers…does anyone sing this way today?

I’ve been reading a surfeit of articles advising us “Do what you love; love what you do” This concept is either praised or reviled. How can you always do what you love when it might not be practical? If a job keeps the roof over your head how can you walk away even if it does suck your soul? Sometimes we do need to make compromises and those compromises need to be our own decision.

After all, there are so many levels of love. Love for our family, our partner, our friends, our country, our pets. Don’t forget love for yourself. In fact I have learned not loving myself is the worst thing I’ve ever done. When we do love ourselves, when we accept ourselves, warts and all, we find peace within ourselves and more love for the rest of the world.

That’s not a bad thing. Wishing you bright sunshine and happy memories.


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Pay it Forward with Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese #MFRWAuthor #M/MRomance

On Saturdays I like to Pay it Forward with other artists. The concept is not “I promote you, you promote me.” Instead “I promote you, you promote someone else,” so there is an ever widening web of support for each other. Erin and Racheline’s Midsummer looks like a great read, don’t you think? Let’s see what they have to say about their book


Midsummer is an M/M May/December gay-for-you summer romance, set at a summer stock production of deep Midsummer Coverin the Virginia woods. Racheline and I often write stories about how stuff works behind the scenes, so we’re particularly excited about this backstage story.

Summer stock companies more or less like Theater in the Woods — the fictional theater troupe Midsummer — exist all over the U.S. And as in our other backstage stories, in Midsummer we’ve tried to hew the line between the dictates of drama and story, and how stuff really works, in the real world.

To some extent summerstock really is, as various characters describe it in the book, theater camp for grownups. Productions are usually Equity shows that provide opportunities for emerging artists to earn a salary and recently turned professional artists to earn their Equity cards. Often, well-known actors will participate in summerstock productions at big-name theaters in order to improve their reputation as a serious actor or just get back on the stage. Their presence can be a big draw for these small theaters.

Ultimately, a summerstock company consists of a few dozen people — the exact number depends on the size of the production and relevant support staff — semi-trapped together for a season, often in very close and, at times, unideal accommodations. They live in theater housing, eat together, work together and, when the rehearsal and set-building is over for the day, play together.

There are a lot of union rules involved with summerstock, as in all theater productions: who can do what work (and often, what work union members aren’t obligated to do); who gets what kind of rooms, etc. For the most part, we’ve tried to stick to the broad outline of those rules without bogging ourselves or our readers down in details; Racheline is a union actor, and we spent some time going back and forth with our editor over whether our readers would understand a reference to a particular Equity status (EMC). But we also let these rules slide in places where it served our story better. Let’s face it, we wanted John, our protagonist, shirtless and covered in paint at one point, and we hope you will too.


John Lyonel, a long-time theater professional and teacher, heads to Virginia to play Oberon in the Theater in the Woods’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, intending to focus on his work. John is recovering from the tragic loss of his family and needs a break. The last thing he expects is to become captivated by Michael Hilliard, the professional actor playing Puck, especially since John has never been attracted to men, let alone one so much younger.

They rush headlong into an affair which falls apart dramatically over secrets that John and Michael are keeping from each other. A steep learning curve, the gossipy cast of the show, and the sometimes sinister magic of the woods conspire to keep them apart. But stage lights and stars might work their magic and help them define a new future.


Erin McRae is a queer writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. She has a master’s degree in International Affairs from American University, and delights in applying her knowledge of international relations theory to her fiction and screen-based projects, because conflict drives narrative.

Racheline Maltese lives a big life from a small space. She flies planes, sails boats, and rides horses, but as a native New Yorker, has no idea how to drive a car. A long-time entertainment and media industry professional, she lives in Brooklyn with her partner and their two cats.

Together, they are co-authors of the gay romance series Love in Los Angeles, set in the film and television industry — Starling (September 10, 2014), Doves (January 21, 2015), and Phoenix (June 10, 2015) — from Torquere Press. Their gay romance novella series Love’s Labours, set in the theater world — Midsummer (May 2015), and Twelfth Night (Fall 2015), is from Dreamspinner Press. They also have a story in Best Gay Romance 2015 from Cleis Press and edited by Felice Picano. You can find them on the web at

Connect with Erin & Racheline online:

Blog | Facebook Page | Erin’s Twitter | Racheline’s Twitter | Erin’s Goodreads | Racheline’s Goodreads | Erin’s Amazon Author Page | Racheline’s Amazon Author Page

Buy Links:

Amazon | AllRomance | B&N | Dreamspinner


Costume fittings and dress rehearsals means that John finally gets to see Michael costumed as Puck. The human characters are dressed contemporarily, in suits and cocktail dresses that become increasingly disheveled as the show goes on. The fairies, though, are dressed in greens and browns with crowns of strange wildness — thistles, cornsilk, and Queen Ann’s lace. Michael as Puck looks deeply inhuman, covered in leaves as if dragged in from the wooded grounds. For their first dress rehearsal, it takes all of John’s considerable experience and willpower to actually focus on the play and not Michael. As taken as Oberon is meant to be with Puck, he should actually be able to remember and deliver his lines.

“Whose idea was this?” he asks Michael afterward, catching him before he can change. Michael blinks at him with eyes done up in silver and green. John wants to devour him.

“Do you like it?” Michael asks, more distant and coy than usual, sliding his hands up John’s chest which, like his own, is bare.

All John can do is groan when Michael looks up at him from under his lashes. He stands on his tiptoes to kiss John briefly, and then vanishes. When he reappears he’s Michael again, in t-shirt and shorts, but John can’t forget the image of him transformed.

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We Don’t Always Have to do it Ourselves #MFRWAuthor

Who remembers this Anacin commercial from the early 1960’s? Even before that, I would insist on ‘doing it myself’ whether I had a headache or not. Also whether or not it might have been better to let someone else do it. Used to drive my poor husband nuts. I had to learn to do it myself after he fell ill and eventually succumbed to pancreatic cancer.

I had the standard hauling water, dog care, shopping. Hauling water   Plus care for our five acres of mostly level land. Not planted in anything that needed tending, fortunately. Since I’m not fond of mowing and prefer the wild meadow look to any sort of lawn, that particular chore went by the wayside. Since the aquafier had chosen to relocate, and the well was quite dry, water needed to be hauled once a week.

It’s not a horribly difficult chore though the tires do tend to lose air over time. And I’m not always successful with the gas station air pumps. In fact I have blown out a tire some time in the past. Even so I managed to get the trailer home and turned around, and changed that tire once the water was pumped out. Easy peasy.


the fender after straightening

030Not so much this time. This time that tire tread blew high, wide, and handsome, winding around the tire and crumpling the trailer fender. Backing and turning became nigh on impossible. It was raining…again…and the driveway was turning into a mud pit.

Enter my neighbor’s brother. “Hey, Monica, let us take care of that. don’t stress yourself.”

Up pops that commercial. But you know what? To heck with I’d rather do it myself. I got out of the truck, handed over the keys and stepped back. He backed the truck up enough to pump out as much water as possible, so we could detach truck from trailer and all retreat out of the rain to our respective houses.

The next day I found my spare tire, and consented to let them change tires even though I’ve done so in the past (by myself!). We agreed to get together when we were all back from shopping. Except I returned to find the trailer tire replaced, fender straight, and the trailer pushed out of the road into the yard.

How cool was that?

Maybe I don’t have to always do it myself

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Let’s Have a Look at James DeBenedetto #MFRWAuthor

I was getting ready to reveal more about the Great Water Trailer Debacle. Until James mentioned needing some attention for his new Dream story. As a charter member of Procrastinators of the Universe (we’re getting around to our first meeting) I said why the heck not? Take it away, James

What if you could see everyone else’s dreams?

Find out with the Dream Series by J.J. DiBenedetto! Book #9, FEVER DREAM, is out today!


What’s the story?

Dr. Sara Alderson isn’t used to her patients dying for no reason. When a young boy succumbs to a mysterious illness that defies all her efforts to treat it, she refuses to accept defeat.

After two months of questions, Sara has attracted the attention of powerful people who don’t want their secrets uncovered, and will go to any lengths to make sure they stay hidden.

Now, time is running out for Sara to unravel the mystery before anyone else falls victim to the illness. And before her career, her family and her freedom are taken from her by enemies she doesn’t even know she has.

Where can you buy it?

Amazon (Kindle or Paperback)


Barnes & Noble (Nook or Paperback)

Apple iBookstore



Want to know more? Here’s an excerpt!

It’s one in the morning, and the last guests have gone. Other than the cleaning crew, Brian and I are the only ones left in the ballroom. I know we need to leave, but I can’t bear the thought of standing up and trying to walk out of the room, down to the garage and then to the car. I think my feet might literally fall off.

“You’re going to have to carry me out of here,” I tell Brian, and he gives me a wicked grin in return.

“I was planning on it,” he says, and he stands, takes a deep breath, and lifts me right out of my seat. I yelp and throw my arms around his neck as he carries me out of the room and over to the elevator, barely showing any strain at all. He has to put me down once we get to the elevator, though. “I need a free hand,” he says, hitting the “up” button. But the garage is – oh. I should have known.

“You booked a room.” He nods. “And you told my parents we wouldn’t be home tonight.” Another nod. It’s all part of the fantasy, I guess. He’s been imagining that he’s James Bond all night, and after a glitzy evening at the casino, James Bond doesn’t hop into the minivan so he can get home, walk the dog and collapse into bed. No way. He takes his conquest for the evening up to the five-star hotel room, where the champagne is already waiting. On ice, no doubt.

The bell dings, he ushers me into the empty elevator, and as the door closes, I feel my fatigue suddenly, instantly, drain away, and I’m all over him. I may not be a fan of those movies, but I know how they go, and it’s not as though I need much of an excuse to throw myself at my husband. By the time the door opens onto the third floor, I’m panting and extricating my hands from his tuxedo jacket. “You woke up in a hurry,” he says, panting himself, pulling his hand off the zipper of my dress, which is already halfway down my back.

“Well, I know what you were thinking, and I also know that no girl can resist James Bond, right?” By way of an answer, he leads me down the hall, opens the door to our room, picks me up again and deposits me on the bed. In seconds, he’s finished the job of zipping me right out of my dress, and his tuxedo is in an undignified mess somewhere on the floor. After that – there’s no more thought, just feeling, just his hands and his lips and his – his everything.

Interested in the books that lead up to this one?

The first five books in the series are collected in one Kindle Box Set, and it’s on sale this weekend for just $0.99!

What if you could see everyone else’s dreams?

Sara Barnes has just discovered that she can. And this gift – or curse – will lead her on an extraordinary journey.

Follow Sara as her newfound ability leads her into adventures she never imagined. She will hunt down a serial killer, investigate a plot to murder one of her teachers, unravel a conspiracy between a mobster and a corrupt politician and face off against her nemesis: a woman who shares her talent, but uses it to destroy lives rather than save them. And Sara will have to manage all that while finishing college, becoming a doctor and falling in love, too.

Here are the first five books of the Dream Series, along with bonus material created especially for this collection. Included in this set are DREAM STUDENT, DREAM DOCTOR, DREAM CHILD, DREAM FAMILY and WAKING DREAM. In addition, you’ll find the short story BETTY & HOWARD’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE starring Sara’s parents. But most of all, when you open this box of dreams, you’ll find romance, suspense, humor and plenty of heart…

Where do you buy it?



Barnes & Noble

Apple iBookstore


Google Play

What about books #6, 7 and 8?

DreamReunionV1 Cover Smaller DreamHomeV1 DreamVacationWrapAround_Paris_Front

They’re all on sale at Amazon!

But I like to listen instead of read! What about audiobooks?


The first five novels and a short story are all available on Audible! And you can hear samples from all of them right here!

So who’s the author?

I was playing with my Great Water Trailer debacle, when James mentioned he could use some assistance. Since I’m going to get around to joining Procrastinators of the World, I thought I’d give myself another day. So you can read about his new book…and take a look at those scrumptious covers!


Well, technically, that’s a picture of his cat, Danny. Danny is much more phorogenic than J.J. is. But J.J. (James, really) is a pretty nice guy. He’s a native New Yorker, althoguh he’s lived in the Washington, DC area for the last 20 years. He loves the opera, reading, photography, science fiction, fondue, travel and the New York Giants. Oh, and of course Danny, and also of course his lovely and talented wife.

Where can I learn more about him?

At his website, on Facebook, on Twitter and at his Amazon Author Page.


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Why We Will Fail…or Will We? #MFRWAuthor

Yikes, it’s been a while since we visited. I’ve been mumbling about what we can share, and intended to start off discussing the value of good neighbors, how I must learn how to accept help. Then I found this on NEPHEILE TEMPEST’s blog. You should check her out, she has a lot to offer!

Take a minute, well actually fifteen minutes, to listen all the way. Toward the end are some eye opening scenarios. He’s easy to listen to, you can wash dishes (or not)

Then we can decide what great career we’ll pursue

And tomorrow I’ll be sharing my great water trailer escapade…part deux


Search for your Passion


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Chuck Wendig and … Popeye #MFRWAuthor

Yes, I really can tie these together! I’ll start with one of Chuck’s trademark Tell it like it is blogs. Wherein he not only tells it like it his but also tells it the way he darned well pleases. If you read Chuck before you know what I mean. If this is a firstie for you I strongly recommend putting down your drink and/or covering your keyboard.

THIS IS CHUCK’S BLOG revealing what we all sort of knew. None of us really know what we’re doing! Even more not many in a position to know better really know what’s going on! We hear this or that genre or sub genre is dead…until someone publishes that very genre to tremendous success.

Remember when Westerns were passe? Or when ‘no one’ would ever want to read, or watch “whatever” again? Yet along comes something catching our attention and we’re off to the races again.

Chuck points out none of us know what we’re doing. Not really. We’re just all kind of (or totally) faking it. But remember that wonderful TED talk where we were advised to ‘fake it until we become it?’ I’ve brought it up several times but I don’t think we can watch it too often. And by the way an author dog trainer friend (AMAZING IN BOTH AREAS!) just reminded me again, when she came across the advice in this talk. .

Let’s all just take a second to stand up, reach up and be what we were meant to be.

Oh, Popeye? I’ve thought about this segment so often during this discussion. It’s from 1935 and no I was not around then! But the irony is not lost on any of us

NO ONE really knows what the heck they are doing, we’re all just faking it. But we’re having a heck of a good time in the meantime! (It’s raining in our drought area…I can’t take much of anything too seriously!)


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Sunday Songs and Memories

001It’s Mother’s Day and in the dog show world in New Mexico, that means getting together with like minded enthusiasts for the High Desert Cluster. Meaning five shows, starting on Friday and going to Tuesday, with activities for pretty much everyone involved in dogs. At least those that can be done indoors. Since the weather can and does vary between “strip down it’s HOT” to “did I remember to bring extra coats?” being indoors can be very important.

This weekend has personal memories for me, related to my husband’s illness. And to my publishing successes…can life be any more complicated? Or any more real?

Of course there’s a song, one I feel is so appropriate, by two iconic singers.

Which one do you like better?

It is here

It is here

Sure enough, the High Desert Cluster is underway. And here’s my new book! Can I have just a short moment of self promotion?

Listed as Romantic Suspense, Honor is also about trust and second chances. Something we all need in our lives

Click on the (pretty!) cover to reach the Amazon page.

Have a wonderful Sunday with those you love.


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SF…SFR…Space Opera…Who Reads It?…What IS it? #MFRWAuthor

Right off the top. I read it, voraciously. And I revel in every new author I meet who writes it. For writing, I do better at paranormal and fantasy. All that science is just…not my strength. Although no less a writer than Arthur C Clarke said

Magic‘s just science that we don’t understand yet

With which I absolutely do agree, though to some of us science is still more magic than reality. I can not create the science to propel my rocket ships. Andre Norton, my childhood writer crush, simply sent people from here to there in ships that could do that sort of thing. It worked for her, but now readers are asking for more science, however magic it might seem. We are, after all, a part of the Star Trek generation.

Except, no matter what readers might want, some editors seem to think that pesky science is going to get in the way of the romance, and readers won’t like that. Really? Readers who search shelves literal and virtual for SCIENCE Fiction ROMANCE aren’t going to want much science in their books?


If these editors would take a moment to apply LOGIC to their decisions, they might wonder how many people would look for Paranormal Romance without vampires or shifters or immortals? Would that reader be coming back to that publisher’s books any time soon?

I’d been thinking in terms of talking about Science Fiction Romance soon, but was prompted by a rash of blogs discussing this very subject to do it now. Such as Heather Massey’s It’s 2015 and One Publisher is Still Trying… Referred to by Greta van der Rol in You Can’t Have Science Fiction Romance Without the Science Greta should know, she writes rollicking good Space Opera. Towards the end of her blog, Greta references two more articles. The second one has to do with female superheroes.

Yup, that’s tomorrow’s rant.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to find a place to tell you about the SFR authors I’ve discovered lately. Writers who have stimulated my imagination and stolen my sleep. So I’ll just mention some of them here.

Greta van der Rol, yup. Her MORGAN SELWOOD perfected an engine that danced within itself and…well the science is beyond me, it’s better to read it, and get Greta’s take on where we as a species are going.

Laurie Green created not only advanced science but a chilling future world in INHERIT THE STARS

Kate Corcino came up with another possible future, where electricity becomes…something else SPARK RISING I suggest you read IGNITION POINT first. You’ll understand why.

And so many more, like ST MARY’S CHRONICLES, mixing science with history, insanity, and a cup of tea.

All of these, by the way, written by women, for anyone who wants a good read. Too bad some publishers are still not getting the message. Most of us really don’t care about the chromosomes of the writer, only about the book.

Do I have pictures for this blog? Hmmm. Here’s a lone pilot, searching for truth in the publishing world.

Airs Above the Ground?

Airs Above the Ground?

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How I Made 10,000 Steps…the First Time #AmWriting #MFRWAuthor

Yes, Fire Dragon, this story is about you

Yes, Fire Dragon, this story is about you

Yes, I have this Fitbit. When I first heard about step trackers I was not truly impressed. Yeah, yeah, my friends walked all these steps, but they walked a lot anyway. But…the more I heard, the more I thought about competing. Not against anyone else since I’ve learned that’s a waste of my energy…but against myself.

The first tracker lasted maybe a month? It had been a cheap knockoff and I gave up trying to figure out the problem. In that brief period of time I realized my normal day’s walking was about 3,000 steps but I could bump that to 5,000 if I just parked further out from the stores. After a few more false starts I picked up that small Fitbit I talked about yesterday.

Normal days now end up around 5,000 steps. Add in dog classes, whether Agility or Conformation, and it can bump close to 8,000 steps. Without any real effort. Nice, but the initial

Getting ready to have FUN

Getting ready to have FUN

goal is between 10,000 and 12,000 on a regular basis.

I started wearing that little tracker all the time. Last Saturday Fire Dragon and I attended an Agility trial. This particular organization emphasizes safety and FUN. Our kind of place.

Not only did I run with him in the class I also walked courses, went back and forth from set up (where my dog was cool and comfy) to the work area. Many times. In long sleeves which it turned out was NOT a good idea. I tend not to notice things like this while I’m with my dog, but later, oh myyyy…. And I still had to move crate and blankets and water back to the truck. In the meantime, Fire Dragon was already safe in the truck crate.



The judge was delightful and so patient. Although at one point

Contacts? We don't need no stinkin' contacts

Contacts? We don’t need no stinkin’ contacts

he did mention “When I told y’all to have fun I might not have meant this

Next time, let's try to both be going in the same direction, okay?

Next time, let’s try to both be going in the same direction, okay?

much fun.” And this was before he saw my red boy.

Isn’t it fun to make an impression!







Ummm, Mom, you still there?

Ummm, Mom, you still there?

At the end of the day, that Fitbit was pushing 11,000. Without (much) effort on my part. Thanks to the talented photography of  SHIRI HOSHEN, we have a record of this day to share with you. Now to keep that level of activity up every day.


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