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Such a simple message, and it’s true 100% of the time. To see more cool graphics like this one visit The Trevor Project!
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Celebrate every color of the rainbow!
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Everyone needs help sometimes, it’s not weakness, it’s just life. You don’t have to deal with it alone.
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Hey, thanks for having me on your blog today, Charli!
In my new book, Slaying Isidore’s Dragons, Declan and Isidore’s parents are diplomats. Declan’s mother is the Irish ambassador to the U.S. and Isidore’s father is the French ambassador to the U.S.
I grew up knowing two ambassadors. They were a married couple who were ambassadors to neighboring countries and saw each other on weekends. Most people don’t realize that ambassadors are extremely powerful people. They carry nearly one hundred percent of the authority of their own president, king, queen, or prime minister in the foreign country of their station. The land that embassies sit on is sovereign land, which means that a little piece of the ambassador’s home country exists right under their feet no matter what country they’re stationed in. Here in the United States, we take the protection of the sovereign land of others very seriously and all embassies located here are guarded by our military, usually by Marines. Diplomatic persons and pouches transporting documents are not subject to search. Any person or package bearing a diplomatic coronet cannot be touched or invaded by anyone. #truestory
Foreign relations are essential to all countries and diplomatic functions are vital to maintaining those relationships. I went to a few in my youth and, plainly stated, they are boring unless you’re into watching insanely dressed up people eat and dance formal dances. In order that I present accordingly at these affairs, my grandfather sent me to Cotillion—which is nothing more than a fancy name for etiquette, deportment, and dance school. You learn everything from how to create a proper place-setting and the purpose of each piece of silverware, to dancing a waltz, and posture—how to sit, how to stand, how to walk, how to carry yourself, and how to greet people. I detested this in my youth yet, as an adult, have found the knowledge invaluable at formal functions. Now, cotillion offers much more than etiquette, deportment, and dance. It provides a leg up to those graduating from middle and high school in the areas of socializing, character development, and presentation for interviews. If you’re interested in learning what Cotillion offers today, check out The National League of Junior Cotillions.
Enjoy reading Slaying Isidore’s Dragons and the glimpse it gives you into the world of diplomatic persons! Through April 25th, follow along for Fun Facts, never-before-seen Excerpts, Interviews, Character Interviews, interesting Blog Posts, and chances to win each of my books!
About Slaying Isidore’s Dragons
5 Best friends
4 Vicious brothers
3 STD tests
2 Guys in love
1 Car bombing
Nowhere to run
Follow the burgeoning love of two teens during the worst year of their lives. Irish-born Declan David de Quirke II is the son of two ambassadors, one Irish and one American. He is ‘out’ to his parents but to no one else. French-born Jean Isidore de Sauveterre is also the son of two ambassadors, one Catalan and one Parisian. His four half brothers have been told to cure him of his homosexuality. Both teens have lost a parent in a London car bombing.
5 Weeks of hell
4 Attempts on their lives
3 Law enforcement agencies
2 Dead high school seniors
1 Jealous friend
A love that won’t be denied
Declan and Isidore meet at the beginning of their senior year at a private academy in the United States. Declan is immediately smitten with Isidore and becomes his knight in shining armor. Isidore wants to keep what is left of his sanity and needs Declan’s love to do it. One is beaten, one is drugged, one is nearly raped, one has been raped. They are harassed by professors and police, and have fights at school, but none of it compares to running for their lives. When the headmaster’s popular son attempts suicide and someone tries to assassinate Declan’s mother, they are thrown headlong into chaos, betrayal, conspiracy, allegations of sexual coercion, even murder. And one of them carries a secret that may get them killed.
5 New family members
2 Extraordinary Psychologists
1 Courageous Mother
A new beginning for two young men in love
Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Cody doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Cody contemplates such weighty questions as If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Cody can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary.
Stop by Cody’s Blog with questions or comments, or simply share what’s on your mind.
Cover and Artwork by Reese Dante
Learn our history. Take those lessons and change your little corner of the world.
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Where do fit?
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Today my guest is fellow Harmony Ink Press author Brynn Stein!
Welcome Brynn and thank you for visiting!
This is the ninth stop on my blog tour. I’m having such fun, as I always do on these tours, talking about various aspects of writing in general, and Ray of Sunlight in particular and getting to know all of you. Thanks so much for following the tour. If this is your first stop, feel free to go back and comment on the others, listed below, to be entered to win one of five prizes. More about that later.
Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Charli. I always love dropping by.
Characters inspired by real life people…sort of.
I’ve already mentioned that Russ was inspired by my students and the homophobes in the story by the people I work with. Now I’d like to talk about CJ’s inspiration. At least part of it.
Years ago, when I was a homebound instructor, raising my own two small children, I taught a little girl with the same kind of cancer CJ has. Let’s call her Jessica.
Jessica was twelve and a half years old and had been fighting cancer for six months when I first met her. Because she was in and out of the hospital and even when she wasn’t she was way too sick to go to school, she need homebound instruction. That means the county schools paid for me to go into her home and work with her so she wouldn’t get too far behind in her studies.
When she was in the Children’s Hospital, of course, she had an educator on staff there who worked with her, but I still visited and kept up to date with what was going on with her. So, by virtue of working so closely with her, I know the symptoms of that kind of cancer, the toll chemo takes on a young body, how education in a children’s hospital works, and unfortunately, how it feels to lose someone so young to cancer.
I worked with her for almost two years. She had just turned fourteen when she went into the hospital for the last time. I visited her, as I always had, but she told me that day that she wouldn’t be there tomorrow. She said that for the first time in two years, she didn’t hurt. (She was always in pain, even with the high powered pain killers she was on). The nurses explained to me that that sometimes happens. The patient’s body shuts down enough toward the end that it doesn’t carry pain impulses anymore.
She was right. She died that evening. Her dad called me the next morning. (I didn’t know him as well as I knew her mom, but mom was justifiably distraught and wasn’t making phone calls.) I think I cried for the rest of the day. She wasn’t the first student I lost to death. And she wasn’t the last. But each one is devastating.
So, now, it feels like a little part of her is immortalized in CJ. He’s really nothing like her, except maybe that indomitable twinkle in his eye. He’s a different age; he has a very different home life. But still…Jessica is sort of the inspiration.
What about all of you? Writers, do you find that your characters are inspired by real life people? Maybe they’re not really anything like them, but the fact that you knew this one real life person went a long way toward your development of this fictional character? Readers, I’m sure far too many of you have had experience with loved ones, or at least people you know, having cancer. I’d love to hear your stories, if you’d like to share short memories, or better yet triumphs, of the people in your life who have fought or are fighting cancer.
Comment below for a chance to win.
Here’s how the giveaway will work. Visit as many sites as you want, as often as you want. Each comment will enter you to win one of the following prizes: 1st) An autographed paperback copy of Ray of Sunlight, 2nd) An electronic copy of Ray of Sunlight, 3rd) Your choice of audio or electronic copy of Living Again, 4th) An electronic copy of Through the Years, and 5th) an electronic copy of Haunted. The takeovers for Harmony Ink’s blog and Facebook page will be part of the tour, so comments on there will count. I will draw the winners during the FB takeover and will announce them then, but will come back and announce it to all the sites too. So, you don’t have to leave your email address here if you don’t want to, just remember to check back. You’re also welcome to leave your email in the comments if you’d rather or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading of “just in case”, so I can contact you if you win, if you don’t want to have to stop back by the blog sites. You don’t have to be present at the FB takeover to win.
Thanks for playing.
Ray of Sunlight
Russ Michaels has his whole life ahead of him but no plans beyond dropping out of school as soon as he turns eighteen. He’s been in and out of juvenile detention for the last four years and thoroughly expects to end up in an adult penitentiary at some point. He hates life and everyone in it, especially this latest community service that he earned in lieu of juvie yet again.
CJ Calhoun has big plans. He wants to bring joy and happiness to sick and injured children for as long as he can by performing as a clown. The problem is, he has stage-four cancer and a horrible prognosis.
When circumstances throw these two polar opposites together, they find they have more in common than they imagined. CJ discovers Russ’s talent for art and arranges for Russ to create a mural in the hospital foyer, which leads to a tentative scholarship to the Art Institute. As life changes in ways neither of them could have expected, Russ must work harder than ever to better himself as CJ struggles with his deteriorating health.
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Brynn Stein has always loved to write. Fan fiction, original fiction, whatever. While Brynn wrote in numerous genres—everything from mystery, to contemporary, to supernatural—she had always tended toward strong male characters. And then she discovered “slash,” male/male romance, and all those strong male characters were finally allowed to express their love for one another. It seems that there are always at least two characters clamoring to tell Brynn their story.
Brynn lives in Virginia near her two grown daughters who encourage her writing and provide a sounding board for fledgling stories. When she isn’t writing, Brynn teaches children with special needs. In free time, when such a thing exists, she reads anything she can get her hands on, and haunts bookstores. She draws and paints, and enjoys the outdoors—especially if she can get to the beach—and is always thinking about her next story.
Such a simple idea, and it really works. To see what others have done, click the graphic or visit The Trevor Project!
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I’m happy to welcome Raine O’Tierney today! She’s brought one of the main characters from her new Harmony Ink release, I’ll Always Miss You, and a giveaway!
Thank you for visiting, Raine and Mackie!
An interview with Macklin “Mackie” Cormack
(To read Isa Zaman’s interview, visit http://ckennedyauthor.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-character-interview-of-isa-zaman-from.html)
I’m going to give it to you straight, your buddy Isa said you’d be an interesting interview.
—*Sigh* Which really means he just didn’t want to do it himself.
Do you end up doing a lot for Isa?
—If by ‘doing a lot’ you mean reading to him so he doesn’t have to crack open a book himself? Then yes. But I don’t think it’s fair to say that and not say that he does stuff for me, too.
What does he do for you?
—Well…he’s my friend. He wasn’t always. At first he was a total ass—but he wasn’t really a threat. Nothing like some of the kids I met in foster care. Eventually we warmed up to each other. Now we’re close like brothers. Maybe more.
Maybe more? Isa wouldn’t talk about it.
—He’s more confused about it. I don’t know. I sort of “got” that I liked him pretty early on, you know, like that. It didn’t bother me.
Are you dating?
—I’d like to—I think about it a lot—but Isa’s Isa and it’ll come in its own time.
Wow, you’re pretty mature for a fifteen-year-old.
—Uh…thanks? I guess. I’m just quiet. I don’t know if that’s really mature.
You’ve been through a lot with your abusive mother and your father not realizing what was going on. How did you cope?
—Lots of reading. Lots of being outside of the house. Foster care was pretty awful—but the alternative was Mom. So, yeah. Foster care it was.
Is it weird living with an Arab-American family?
—Not at all! I really love the Zaman family. I wish they would cook more Moroccan food though, or I wish Rashid would come over more often. I didn’t even know I liked it until I met them and now I can’t get enough!
So, do you really think the house is haunted?
—I don’t know… Pretty spooky stuff happens, though, and I don’t have an explanation. We haven’t seen the ghost, but… that doesn’t mean she isn’t there.
Anything you want the world to know about you, Mackie Cormack?
—I’m not glass. My experiences have made me who I am.
I’ll Always Miss You by Raine O’Tierney
Isa Zaman might forgive his parents for taking in a friend’s son if only he wasn’t the most boring teenager in the universe. Macklin “Mackie” Cormack’s only interests are reading and the outdoors. Yeah, right. Isa’s convinced Mackie is either a pyro or a klepto. Plus, as a white kid, Mackie looks ridiculous in the Zamans’ Arab American household. Forced to share a bedroom, the boys keep butting heads until an absurd fight finally breaks the tension between them.
Isa’s just starting to figure life out: this new houseguest, his cultural identity, school, and even girls, when the entire family is uprooted from their home for reasons Isa can’t understand. They move from their tiny city apartment to a giant, old house in a small town, hours away from everything he’s ever known. Oh, and the new house? It’s probably haunted, or so says the blank-faced ten-year-old next door. As if things weren’t weird enough, Isa’s friendship with Mackie suddenly takes a strange turn down a path Isa’s not sure he’s ready to follow. It turns out Mackie Cormack isn’t nearly as boring as Isa once imagined.
He took a deep breath. “That’s sort of the thing. I don’t like anything about her.”
“She asked me out.” Mackie shrugged. “But I don’t really like her all that much either.”
I couldn’t wrap my head around it. We’d been ignoring each other for all that time over a girl he didn’t even like? Bullshit. Complete and total bullshit.
“Are you for real?”
“So why are you going out with her, then?” And then I remembered what he’d said in my room that day, that he was dating her just because…. Because why? If we were ever going to be friends again, then I needed to know. “Why are you going out with her?”
“I really don’t want to talk about that, Isa.”
“C’mon, Mackie. It’s been driving me nuts. Why would you date someone you didn’t even like? Or do you like kissing her?”
“Not… really,” he said. “That’s kind of the thing. I thought I would. But… I don’t.”
“Okay, then stop.” I shrugged. “We’re supposed to start working at Rashid’s, and we could hang out again, and there’s only like a week left of school. We could be friends.”
I don’t… think that’s… a good idea.”
“You don’t want to be my friend?” I demanded. “What? ’Cause of Katy? ’Cause I was a jerk? That’s stupid, Mackie! It was your fault too! I don’t understand you at all.”
He was quiet for a really long time.
“I’m screwed no matter what I do,” he finally said on a low sigh.
“You think?” I asked, not knowing what he meant. I rolled Dad’s nine iron with my palm.
“Jesus H, Isa. You’re going to make me do this, aren’t you?”
“Yup,” I told him dryly. “Yup, I’m going to make you do this, whatever the hell ‘this’ is.”
He turned his face and stared at me. He stared at me so hard and for so long, I started to get uncomfortable. And then he leaned in, and I thought he was going to whisper it. Whatever the big secret was, whatever he’d been hiding from me, his reasons for dating a girl he didn’t even like, his reasons for not wanting to be my friend, all of it. Instead, he kissed me.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Raine O’Tierney loves writing about first loves and friendship. She believes the best thing we can do in this life is be kind to one another, and hopes her stories always reflect that. Raine loves encouraging people to write and has been known to repeat the phrase “I believe everyone has a story to tell” endlessly, until she breaks down even the most stubborn non-writer!
Raine lives outside of Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband, fellow M/M author Siôn O’Tierney. When she’s not writing, she’s either playing video games or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job.
Contact her if you’re interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
Categories: Young Adult | Bisexual | Coming of Age |
Pages: 256 pages