I’m rarely serious in my blog, but today’s post is very serious, indeed.
LGBT people make up less than 10% of the overall population, yet 40% of homeless kids in the U.S. identify as LGBT. Of them, 68% cited family rejection for the reason they were on the streets. Studies have repeatedly shown that homeless LGBT kids are more at risk of being attacked, robbed, and raped than their heterosexual counterparts, more likely to engage in prostitution or survival sex, more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol, and more likely to attempt or commit suicide. Despite this, less than 25% of homeless shelters cater for or specifically target LGBT kids, leaving them at the mercy of individual organizations who can pick and choose who they help and who they abandon on the streets. Laws such as Indiana’s SB 101 enshrine the legality of refusing service—including such basic assistance as food and shelter—to people specifically because they’re LGBT.
This isn’t about pizza. This is about creating a climate in which LGBT individuals feel isolated from and rejected by the rest of society. It’s about creating a climate in which parents feel justified for kicking their kids out on the street. It’s about cutting off any and all support networks which might otherwise be available to prevent kids from ending up on life’s scrapheap because of how they were born.
Want to read a happier ending?
Changing laws and attitudes takes time, and right now there are LGBT people in need who can’t afford to wait. The sooner we can help them, the better, and the more resources we have, the more help we can offer.
That’s why 224 authors, review bloggers, and publishers have got together to offer something wonderful: a reward for people who do a little bit to give back to charity. Instead of spending $5 on a book in the next two weeks, give that $5 to an LGBT charity of your choice, tell us about it in the comments, and go into the draw to win a book from one of our participating donors. And because it’s not all about money, if you can’t make a donation then please take a moment to share a charity’s links and tell us about that instead.
Three fundraisers have been set up to counter the hateful effects of Indiana’s SB 101. #Pizza4Equality is aiming to match the money raised by *that* pizza parlor, with all donations going to Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund. Another fundraiser is aiming to raise $100,000 for Indiana Youth Group. Finally, Planting Peace is trying to raise $100,000 to provide beds for homeless LGBT people.
Please consider giving to one of these deserving fundraisers, or any other LGBT charity anywhere in the world. We’re not telling you where you should donate your time and money, only asking that you do. The smallest things can make the biggest difference, and together, we can do something incredible.
Imagine being the only un-magical kid at Hogwarts. That’s how sixteen-year-old orphan Jaden Raines feels as he enters Azunya High. He struggles to fit in, but he’s really a fish out of water.
The magical isle of Azunya, where paranormal policing agency B.O.O. is headquartered, is shocking to Jaden after having lived his entire life in the American Midwest. Back there, his classmates were freaks, geeks and gangstas. Here, his classmates are genies, witches, healers… A whole pantheon of beings and monsters.
And worse yet, he’ll have to read The Old Man and the Sea. Again.
Jaden might be the new kid in town, but he’s still a teen. It’s love at first sight with handsome skater-boy Stiltz. They have three things in common: neither is able to use magic, they’re both petrified of water, and, lucky for Jaden, they’re both gay. They should bond, but their relationship’s stormy from the start.
To try to fit in, Jaden hides his powerless state, accidentally creating the myth that he’s the most powerful being of them all.
But when the entire school demands a demonstration, what’s Jaden to do?
New lies and cruel deceptions leave Jaden and Stiltz stranded at sea in the middle of a deadly tropical storm.
In order to survive, the boys must spill their secrets. It’s sink or swim for our heroes.
Only the truth can set them free. And keep them alive.
MYSTERICAL: A young adult, gay, contemporary paranormal adventure romance
Full-length novel, coming soon.
Jaden kicked off his flip-flops. “Ow! Ow!” He hopped from one foot to the other on the hot sand as he struggled to yank the sweat-stuck T-shirt over his head. He tossed the thin cotton shirt onto a nearby stand of pampas grass. It swayed and dipped before the t-shirt dropped onto the dune. Damn. With a dismissive shrug, he turned away, figuring it couldn’t get any more sandy just lying there. He had more important things on his mind than a sweaty T-shirt even if it was the one he’d planned to wear to school today.
He drew a deep breath, preparing himself. The pattern of his surfer shorts grabbed his attention. They were made of some wet-to-dry miracle fabric so they served as both bathing suit and regular, if blindingly bright, shorts. He was about to test drive their bathing suit capacity for the first time.
He’d stared too long, stalling. His eyes burned and watered. The cartoony palm trees and waves appeared to move as if fanned by an imagined breeze. He scrunched his eyes shut. The images and colors continued to swirl on the backs of his eyelids.
Swallowing hard, he opened his eyes again, forcing himself to gaze out at the real thing. The bright morning sunlight danced on the breakers. He squinted at the horizon. The ocean went on and on and on until it fell off the edge of the world.
But he was nothing if not determined. He gritted his teeth, ordering himself to take the first step across the sand toward the water.
Now or never.
Sink or swim.
He would conquer his fear of water if it killed him.
He’d just started a new life, a new home, a new family. He’d turned sixteen a few days ago. It was time to put away childish things. Today was the first day of the rest of his life. Blah-blah-blah and all that inspirational jazz.
It’s just water, for God’s sake. Everybody else thinks it’s fun. Why don’t I?
He scratched his neck so hard it hurt, like he was punishing himself for being weak. For not fitting in.
Okay, Jaden. You got this.
He raised his head and headed towards the sea.
One step. Two. Another. He forced his rubbery legs onward, stumbling awkwardly on the soft sand.
Then it wasn’t soft. It was firm, wet and dark where the tide washed in. He stopped, almost there, sighing as his burning feet cooled. He gasped when a wave rushed up, touching his feet. Touching him. Springing back, he nearly sprawling on the beach.
“Jerk-face. It’s too early for anybody to see you make and ass of yourself.” He clenched his hands and his teeth and stepped forward again. The water licked at his feet with foamy white tongues. It felt soothing and terrifying at the same time.
Another step and he was up to his ankles. Another and it lapped at his calves. The sand beneath his soles melted away with each wave. In and out. In and out. Just like breathing. Something, he reminded himself, that he really should be doing.
Another step and he was up to his knees. Each breath so loud it was almost a gasp.
When the water reached his thighs, he stopped. Far enough for the first time, he decided.
“This isn’t so bad,” he said aloud, trying not to puke. But the truth was, it was really, really bad. He trembled and swayed, his neck itched and his legs stiffened, tingling and numb at the same time.
Then something grabbed him!
Something inhumanly strong wrapped around his legs, clamping them together, ankle to thigh.
“Nooo!” Jaden yelled, toppling into the cold surf. He struggled, gasping for air. Salt and sand stung his eyes. He flailed in the waves, grasping useless handholds of sand and grit.
He was going down. Oh, God. He was going to drown.
With a yell, he kicked out at his attacker, No good. His legs were tightly bound.
Buffeted by whitecaps, he gasped, inhaling seawater, choking. Panicking. He shoved hard at whatever clamped his legs together, putting all his strength into his trembling arms.
His fingers met a strange, alien surface. Slippery, yet warm and sleek. Scales. Jeeze. Had some giant sea snake swallowed his legs? Panic tore through him. A glimpse through the foam. Glossy black scales and a slick, menacing fin.
A sea monster? In the ocean surrounding Azunya! Why had no one warned him? No one cared enough to warn him.
No one had ever cared.
Then from behind, another attacker. Rough hands grabbed his arm, fingers like claws digging in hard.
He swallowed more salt water, sputtering. His thudding heart shook his entire body. A second pair of hands grabbed him under his other arm, dragging him roughly up and out of the ocean.
Coarse volcanic granules sandpapered his bare back as he was hauled up the shore, away from the waves and their terrifying inhabitants. Turned out his fear of water wasn’t so irrational. He quickly added fear of land to his list.
Once up on the shore, the hands eased their iron grip, but stayed. Warm. Supporting him. Keeping him from collapsing back onto the sand.
Jaden coughed, spewing water, inhaling precious air along with a last few choking droplets.
“Turn him on his side. Recovery position.”
The words were clear, but made no sense to Jaden. He kicked at his new captors, his legs now free. He forced his burning eyes open. Slammed them shut again, blinded by the sun. He scrambled up the wet beach like a startled crab, falling back into dry powdery sand when his legs scuttled faster than his arms.
“Jaden! Jaden! It’s okay. It’s okay. We got you.”
The words made more sense this time. The voice familiar. A voice he was used to obeying, although it wasn’t telling him to pass the ball now. “Coach? Coach Wright?” Jaden gasped, gagging as the last of the inhaled seawater flooded his throat, tasting foul and poisonous. His eyes streamed as he blinked hard, trying to see through salt, sand and tears. “What… What happened?”
“That, my brand new brother, is what we need you to tell us.”
Interesting stuff here. Especially if you’re writing (or reading) crime fiction, Wish my City had a volunteer police academy.
Originally posted on jamielynnm:
It was Drugs and Gangs at last night’s CPA class. We had Corporal Cummings from DuMEG and Detectives Grey and Dunteman from our Special Operations Unit.
DuMEG stands for DuPage Metropolitan Enforcement Group. There are 33 different towns in the county that take part, either by contributing financially or by offering up manpower. My town has had an officer in DuMEG for the past 4 years. The main objective for DuMEG is undercover narcotics investigation.
Heroin is the number one drug now, surpassing cocaine, crack and meth. It’s readily available, cheaper than any other drug and extremely potent. Heroine is the most abused of all narcotics. It’s derived from morphine. It has an unpredictable purity level and an extremely high addiction rate. The most well-known types are China White and Mexican Brown.
The stories that Cummings told about dealing with heroine addicts both turned your stomach and broke your heart…
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Fascinating stuff here. What’s documentary evidence?
Originally posted on jamielynnm:
It was CSI night at class yesterday! So for shits and giggles I had to bust out the appropriate shirt. Heh.
Needless to say, it was a hit with both my classmates and our instructors. One of the Evidence guys saw me and said “The CSI tech is here! The class is yours!” :-) Gotta love these guys.
So yes, last night’s topic was Crime Scene Investigations and Fingerprinting. Officer Cluever was back (this guy is a riot!) so it was a very entertaining evening. He tells the best stories!
I didn’t take a lot of notes last night, mainly because since forensics is a passion of mine, I already knew 90% of what he was talking about. But here are a few of the things he went over:
• 3 kinds of evidence – Physical, Testimonial (least reliable) and Documentary
• First officer on scene gives aid to victim…
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Sucks and Blows is an absolute riot! Totally unique and undeniably witty, Sucks and Blows is something else. Take a step away from reality to enjoy this one of a kind story, a basic plot with characters and dialogue that has run amok. If you need a good chuckle, check out Sucks and Blows. You won’t be disappointed.
Joyfully Reviewed by Lisa
Great story if you need a laugh, but not if you’ve been putting off a visit to the dentist. Horny dentist meets vamp with a fang-ache and pun-fest ensues. Yes, the tooth is out there! Clever and fun, and I enjoyed the unique characters.
EM Lynley on Goodreads
This is too funny. Full of (bad) puns, unlikely events and a dentists who thinks attracting vampires sounds like a good idea – until he meets his first one and has no idea that he’s the real thing. Very entertaining.
Serena Yates in Goodreads
Cary was just about to jerk off again when the electronic door chime squawked the first few bars of “Another One Bites the Dust.”
He rushed out to the reception area. “Hello. Welcome to Drewel’s Dentistry!” He hoped he didn’t sound too anxious. And that his residual hard-on wasn’t tenting his racy black dental smock.
That the visitor was tall and handsome, with a muscular build and chiseled cheekbones, did little to dampen Cary’s arousal.
“I . . . I thaw your brothure.” The man held out Cary’s carefully crafted (but badly printed) flyer:
Drewel’s Family Dental Clinic
~ Vampires Our Specialty ~
“You do vampireth?”
“Absolutely.” Cary grinned. He’d included the vampire reference to show he was the dentist with a sense of humor. And also to attract the Twilight age group, which was ripe for expensive orthodontia.
“Hurths.” The man pointed to his upper lip, red and swollen on either side of his sexy little cupid’s bow.
“I can help you with your dental breakdown, Mr. . . .”
“Tharpe. Pierthe Tharpe.”
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Sharpe.” “May I call you Pierce?”
“Thure.” Pierce held out his hand.
“Call me Cary, then.” Cary grasped the outstretched hand, surprised at how cold and shaky Pierce felt. This guy was in bad shape. He looked like death—if death were really cute, that is.
Withdrawing his hand, Pierce shoved it deep into his jeans pocket, maybe to hide the trembling. “I haven’t eaten in dayths. Hurths too much.”
“Okay then. You’re in luck. I was about to close, but I can squeeze you in. Let’s get you in the chair right away.” He led Pierce through the pristine reception area, which, he hoped, would one day have an actual receptionist. “Climb aboard.” He gestured at the shiny new-and-not-yet-paid-for dental chair.
Pierce clambered into the chair and lay back. Cary took a moment to look at him—professionally, of course. He’d been so excited at getting his first actual patient he hadn’t really checked Pierce out.
Sprawled in a chair was a good look for the guy. He had a terrific body, nicely showcased by a tight black T-shirt and faded jeans. His lips were reddish and swollen and brought to mind other things that made a guy’s lips red and swollen . . . but in a good way rather than an inflamed-gums way. Short dark hair contrasted nicely with blue eyes that were a little bloodshot. And staring back at Cary.
Cary smiled, aiming for more reassuring and less predatory. His unusually high sex drive had gotten him in trouble before.
Thank God this guy can’t read minds.
To deflate his straining erection, he conjured up an image of what Shark Lending’s “rep,” Gill Hammerhead, would do to him if he didn’t make a payment soon. Gill had threatened both foreclosure and bodily harm. Cary wasn’t a big fan of either. His hard-on melted away.
Fastening the little bib behind his patient’s neck, he ordered, “Open, please.”
Cary leaned in to begin the exam. “Holy crap!” He said, fumbling the explorer. The man doesn’t have eyeteeth; he has stalactites!
Jamie’s earned another 5-star review!
Originally posted on jamielynnm:
After years of working together as part of Chicago’s S.W.A.T. team, Mitch and Joey finally acknowledge their mutual attraction and make their partnership as perfect at home as it is on the job. Together they are able to fill their down time with much needed love an laughter, but their happiness doesn’t last long.
Mitch is able to adapt to his own injuries after a bust goes bad, but Joey’s memory loss is heart-breakingly traumatic for him to bear. Unwilling to leave his partner alone, Mitch is determined to stay by Joey’s side for as long as it takes. For him, their love is unforgettable and it is enough to just be close to the beautiful man who holds his heart. After years of waiting for Joey’s memories to return, Mitch’s love is stronger than ever but his hope is almost gone.
MEMORY’S PRISONER is a well written combination of…
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I published in 2014 but not my debut book. How about you?
Originally posted on Kobo Writing Life:
Monetary prize and marketing support awarded for books in three categories: Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction, and Non-Fiction
Did you publish your first book in 2014? Do you have a Canadian passport? If so, you may want to consider entering Kobo’s first annual Emerging Writer Award of Excellence.
Created for debut authors in three categories: Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction (beginning with Mystery, with a different genre showcased each year), and Non-Fiction, each winning author will be awarded a $10,000 CAD cash prize and promotional, marketing, and communications support; winners will be announced in June.
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Wish I could find a similar Civilian Police Program here in Toronto. Jamie makes it sound fascinating.
Originally posted on jamielynnm:
We covered three topics in class last night – Interrogation, Social Services and Special Operations.
Detective Chacon was first, talking about Interrogation. First did you know the difference between an “interview” and an “interrogation”? Most people think the terms are interchangeable but they’re not. An interview in an informal conversation before you are placed under arrest. You do not have to be read your Miranda rights for an interview. An interrogation is an official conversation after you’ve been formally charged and arrested and read your Miranda rights.
He went through the basic steps of any interrogation: General questioning – Fact Finding – Time for suspect to do the talking – Time for detective to listen and develop rapport and determine baseline behavior – Time for detective to be very confident and take control of the conversation. 90% of all communication is non-verbal, aka body language, and detectives become masters at…
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Starlight Presents was kind enough to interview me and post it here: http://debrajess.com/2015/01/lost-boys-2-0-by-storm-grant/
Lots of good stuff about writing and my latest book.
Check it out!
My friend Joan has some interesting thoughts on the habits of writing. And she quotes me!
Originally posted on Joan Leacott:
In early August, my laptop turned into a beast. It chewed through time like I chew through licorice whips. Snap, munch, yum, next hour, please.
It’s not like I was perfecting the craft of procrastination. Honest. I was working. I designed book covers, formatted ebooks and print books, updated webpages, created a whole new website. I was crazy busy and still not getting any writing done. Every morning, I put my butt in my chair, and my hands on the keyboard and did everything except write story words.
And I was getting madder and madder at myself.
Then, I read a productivity book. I don’t usually like self-help books. I find most of them a little too “magical elixir” if you know what I mean. Just do precisely what the author says and you’ll sell a million books, lose a pound every time you blink, AND rule the world. Yeah. Right.
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