(Also, my apologies for this one being a day late! Just pretend it’s Monday? :D?)
Oh, my. I’m just terrible at keeping my promises to you guys, aren’t I? Can you see me hanging my head in shame? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing.
It’s the end of June, and the last few months have been a complete whirlwind. In April, we had our first ever Rainbow Conference here in Tampa. The event when without any major hitches, which is a huge blessing with how hard everyone was working to keep everything enjoyable for the ~175 attendees that came out for the event. Geoffrey Knight was an amazing Guest of Honor, and really hit one out of the park by giving an opening speech on the fly for us that really spoke to uniting in the genre as supporters of GLBTQ fiction, and I felt like we were able to get topics out in front of people that really matter, in fiction and in life. We’re already planning the 2015 event, and it’s going to be awesome. The official charity is the Big Cat Rescue down here in Tampa, and we’re running with the Big Cat theme through several panels having to do with fiction, fandom, and television/film. We’re also having a themed Masquerade along with a Dinner + Drag Show and a field trip out to the Big Cat Rescue so some of the attendees can see the big cats up close and personal. I can’t wait!
If you’re curious about RainbowCon, definitely click the name there to go to the website. The entire schedule is up there along with a list of the authors already signed up. Registration is OPEN. I hope anyone interested in a 4-day conference filled with nothing but QUILTBAG-centric content will join us July of 2015! :D
In other news, a new anthology out through Storm Moon Press has a story I co-wrote with S.L. Armstrong! Blood Embrace brings together 4 stories taking a unique approach to vampires. Our story, “Of the Flesh”, centers around a priest who has been hunting down a particular vampire since his brother (and fellow man of the cloth) was turned and disappeared. It’s a religiously and sexually charged piece that I hope everyone enjoys. I gave the story prompt to Saundra (S.L. Armstrong), and she really went above and beyond, bringing all the themes that I’d envisioned to a wonderfully dark, moody piece with some edge. I fully give Saundra credit for this one, since she did a lot of the leg work getting it written. It might have originally been my idea, but she enhanced it and really delivered with wording that made me giddy as a schoolboy while we collaborated. Check it out along with D.K. Jernigan’s “Red Filter” story, which I had the pleasure of reading while it was being written. Fantastic story with psychic vamps and an artist who isn’t afraid to take charge when he realizes what is haunting his artistic haze. Highly recommended!
In yet other news, I just started a new massage job a couple weeks ago, and I’m going strong. After a while not being in the business, it’s great to return and feel like I’m doing some good and helping people manage their aches and pains.
At the moment, I’m organizing a promotion tour for RainbowCon, but Saundra and I will also get writing again soon on a short story to be included in the Devout anthology, which will be all about priest kink. We might have just written a priest with a vampire, but this new short will be a minister’s encounter with an angel, so it’ll be quite a different story. ;)
I hope everyone has a great July! With how busy I am at the moment, no promises for regular updates, but I’ll do my best!
Hey, everyone! I know it’s been a couple months since I last posted. Life has been more emotionally taxing since Dorian’s passing. Some days are better than others, and I know the grief is most severe for Saundra, who was, by far, the closest to Dorian. Basil and Victor (the latter being our newer black kitty we took in from the streets) have both taken on a couple of Dorian’s habits, which is really sweet, but it’s also kinda bittersweet. He’s missed every single day.
The last two months have been full of change. There’s been the ongoing adjustment of the household to being without Dorian, a lot of vet visits for the other pets, a new job for me (night shifts, make-up & heels required. GAH!), and finally writing a piece featuring a transman.
With the help of Kathleen Tudor/D.K. Jernigan, SMP put out a Valentine’s Day anthology pretty much at the last minute. The premise behind Sweethearts and Seduction is very simple: gay romance with a high fluff factor. Kathleen practically begged me to be part of the anthology, and though I had a vague idea in my head for a solo piece, it was incredibly difficult for me to write following Dorian’s passing. (Still is, truth be told.) She therefore tempted me by writing the opening to a story that she thought would be fun to co-write. This… was definitely a new thing for me. I’ve co-authored almost constantly as an author, having been pulled into writing and pretty much mentored by S.L. Armstrong (Saundra), but this was the first time I’d co-authored with anyone else. It was incredibly low stress and a lot of fun. Kathleen is pretty laid back, doesn’t mind improving some of what I write if it doesn’t strike quite the right tone, and when I was having difficulty, she was there to help. She also fully encouraged me to create Zane, my first transman character. He’s the love interest of Troy, a cis-gendered man who decides to propose to Zane even though it might put his roller rink business at risk. It’s a sweet story and was a welcome challenge for me, since I wanted to make Zane trans* without bashing the reader over the head or getting preachy.
Zane’s life in no way mirrors my own life, but there were certain elements of his character that I pulled from my own experience as a genderqueer individual. I did my best to keep him down to earth and focused on his own life rather than getting soapboxy about his state of being. This is a fluffy anthology, after all, so it wouldn’t have been appropriate for him to angst to that degree. I think he’d moved past that by the time we see him in “The Best Thing on Eight Wheels”. ;) Zane presents male and both binds and packs, though that isn’t spelled out in such plain terms in the short story. In my mind, he isn’t on HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) because of a sensitivity to testosterone… but again, this isn’t explicitly stated in the short story. XD He’d happily get top surgery, but that’s an expense he can’t afford, especially with his partner’s business on the line. He has insecurities about his body and the way it still looks feminine in some ways, but he manages that with the support of family, friends, a loving partner, and someone whom I like to imagine is an excellent therapist. Do all trans* people need such things? Not necessarily, and many to varying degrees. But in my head, therapy and having a good support structure was the way he could deal with his transition at his own pace and doing only what he is comfortable doing.
So! I hope everyone checks out the Sweethearts and Seduction anthology. There are some really fun stories in it, and my personal favorite is Erik Moore’s “Sold!”, which has a fantastic mix of humor and seduction to it. Go check it out!
Coming up on the blog (soon-ish… I hope), I’ll be doing a random facts sort of meme, and I’m determined to write a post about underwear. No. Seriously. Underwear. You’ll see what I mean when I finally manage to get it written. It’s been bouncing around my brain since just before Christmas, so it’s long overdue. XD I hope everyone has a great St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow! Get your Irish on!
There’s a pain goes on and on…
Today, after a months-long struggle, our sweet kitten, Dorian, left this earth for the Rainbow Bridge. He died surrounded by those who loved him dearly, and we will all miss him terribly.
Throughout the decline of his health, we all weren’t sure what was ailing him, but the vet who saw to him at the end gave us a diagnosis that, now that we’ve researched it, explains every single bit of his illness. Dorian had Feline Infectious Peritonitis, which was brought on by the feline Coronavirus. We did all we could have done to prolong his life and give him a happy and healthy one to the very end, but there is no cure and no treatment for what he had, so when the time came, we had to say our goodbyes and let him go.
There’s a Dorian-shaped hole in all our hearts here at the Armstrong-Piet household. Dorian was the sweetest little kitty I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing and loving. He was very much Saundra’s cat, as you’ll see in the photo below. My roomies have two yellow Labradors whom I often walk in the evenings, and tonight as I walked them, I looked up at the sky and honed in on the moon and the constellation Orion. Dorian lived through the holidays and through Saundra and Roger’s 16th wedding anniversary (which was yesterday). He also lived through the full moon. It seems as the moonlight began to wane, so too did he, and it was as swift as the scorpion bite that killed Orion in Greek Mythology. I know all of that doesn’t take away from the grief of losing Dorian, but those are the things that went through my mind tonight as I walked. Dorian lived an amazing life, and he squeezed every moment of loving out of everyone in the household, especially Saundra. We’re just sad that his life with us was so very short.
The last photo we took of Saundra with Dorian – November 2013
May 2012 – January 2014
Our sweet kittle skittle. You’ll always be treasured in our hearts and spirits.