Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Welcome Weekend Warriors – RainbowCon 2015

That's right. Weekend warriors. Sometimes, there are just too many reasons that you can't extend your con­going fun into the weekdays. Hey, we understand! Most people have jobs, families, summer school, or a hundred other pulls on their time and energy over those hot, summer months. That's why RainbowCon has day passes available!
But wait, wait. I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's introduce you to RainbowCon first. Then, those day passes will make a lot more sense and hopefully sound appealing!
Art Courtesy of Guests of Honor Adam DeKraker & Alex Woolfson

RainbowCon is a four­day conference filled with nothing but GLBTQ content. Four days of panels, workshops, activities, and a few nighttime events that celebrate the GLBTQ presence across various media in our varied artistic community. Our first RainbowCon was held in April 2014 and was a resounding success, but where 2014's con was centered around primarily GLBTQ fiction, 2015's content has been expanded to encompass television, movies, theatre, comics, fiction, and fandom. The con is very inclusive, and we hope that there's a little something for everyone, whether you're looking for fandom fun or to learn a little more about QUILTBAG content in our media and pop culture. The conference is for anyone and everyone who loves art with an emphasis on GLBTQ themes and characters!
Now, back to the weekend warriors! I'm happy to report that, while you can get a general registration to RainbowCon 2015 for just $75 (registration is STILL OPEN!), it's not the only option out there for you. The con will run July 16th through 19th just next month, so we know there are often a lot of things going on in the heat of summer. If you're planning on making your way down to Tampa, Florida for the conference but can't afford to take too many days off from your job, family, or other equally important obligations, we have day and (*gasp*) weekend passes!
Pre­Registration: $75 (four­day pass)
Day Passes (purchased at door):
  • Thursday (July 16th) ­ $30
  • Friday (July 17th) ­ $35
  • Saturday (July 18th) ­ $35

Weekend Pass: $50 (Sat/Sun July 18th/19th)

I can hear you now. "Well, that's great. The price looks nice and all, but... what does that actually get me if I just grab a weekend pass?" Good question! Here are a few highlights from our weekend programming!
  • Fiction – Our fiction panels cover a broad range of topics throughout the con. On Saturday, you can sit in on craft­based panels about social media, handling criticism, or moving from hobby to career, or you can choose panels on paranormal romance, polyamorous fiction, LGBTQ ­punk fiction, or series/serials (This is the Story that Never Ends). Sunday is a half day at the con, but you can still find offerings on lesbian fiction, religion in fiction, historicals, and YA genre fiction.
  • Fandom – Doctor Who, subtext, queer furries, supernatural characters, femslash, and even a fun panel aptly titled When Poly Would Have Solved Everything. All these and more can be found in our fandom panel offerings Saturday and Sunday!
  • Multi­media – These panels address topics across various media. From LGBTQ in advertisements, the appeal of fairy tale retellings, LGBTQ on the CW, and LGBTQ & parenting in pop culture to everything about bad guys, 50 shades of fantasy, and pushing LGBTQ into the Mainstream. There's plenty to choose from.
  • Educational – We pride ourselves on offering some educational topics throughout the con in addition to all the typical fun. On the weekend, we have panels about YA dystopian fiction, genderqueer identity and themes, how to be an ally, queerbaiting, and how to get kids reading LGBTQ­positive books.

Workshops: We have a couple rooms dedicated to workshops for new and seasoned writers alike! The following topics are available on the weekend (space will be limited)!
  • Perspective and POV
  • Queries, Synopses, and Blurbs
  • Writing Believable Sex
  • Integrating Kink
  • Writing YA Fiction

Guests of Honor: Our Guests of Honor for 2015 are the incomparable pair of Alex Woolfson and Adam DeKraker, the creator and illustrator of The Young Protectors, an online comic mixing GLBTQ themes in with classic superhero/supervillain content. Never heard of them before? You can keep up with their comic online for free (start reading HERE)! Saturday is the day this pair will be featured with a panel or two about the craft of online comics as well as their Q&A session. They're also offering a special dinner opportunity to their supporters on Kickstarter/Patreon who are attending, and that's slated for Saturday night as well. You won't want to miss it!

Games & Activities: These are just for fun, the places you can hide out for a little quiet time or fun crafting to rest your brain during the conference. For Games, we have Book Title BINGO, Loaded Questions, QUILTBAG Memory, Cards Against Humanity, and Euphemism BINGO. On the activity side, you can enjoy an hour of bookmark making, painting rainbow pendants, or crafting a Masquerade Mask, which leads to our next section...
Main Events: On Saturday night, we'll be holding a themed ball, the Call of the Wild Masquerade, where guests are allowed to come in costume or simply show up for some light snacks and fun music and dancing. The ball is a premium event that has a surcharge to help offset the catering costs, but it's completely optional, so if you don't wish to attend, you don't end up paying a cent. ^_^ Raffle tickets will also be available for our charity raffle to benefit the Tampa Bay Big Cat Rescue, thus the theme of the event. On Sunday, our Closing Ceremonies will also be partnered with an informal Ice Cream Social, so be sure to stop by for some ice cream, raffle drawings, and fond farewells!

Whew! See? There's so much to experience, even if you can only make it to the con for the weekend! You can check out more about RainbowCon by visiting our website or keep up with current happenings by following our Facebook or our Twitter. We hope you'll consider heading down to Tampa next month to join us in celebrating artistic diversity!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia

Today is an important day. It's the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia. I wanted to share my thoughts with you on this today.

It's hard to put words down on how something important makes you feel sometimes. We are raised in a world where we are encouraged to keep our thoughts to ourselves. Don't upset the balance of how things have always been. But how things have been is wrong. There's so much hate, discrimination and persecution out there, just for being an individual. Parents pass down their anger and hatred on to their children and the cycle continues. When does it stop?

We have to make a choice. We have to make the decision to stop the cycle. To teach our children love and understanding for ALL. Not just for the people we like. You can't say I want everyone to be equals and then cut someone down because they piss you off. You have to agree to love everyone, to show that love and to teach it to others.

Growing up I was judged a lot. I grew up with two brothers. I was a Tom boy. I didn't want to be the girly girl in dresses and make up. I wanted to stuff my face with burgers and pizza and watch cartoons. In high school I was one of the guys, I wasn't the girl guys looked at. And no one ever came out as gay or bi or anything that wasn't just normal. Now as an adult I'm still not in to girly things. I don't care for dresses. I don't want diamonds.  I get more excited going camping or going to the zoo. I got the cutest cactus for mother's day. I loved it.

I was raised Christian in a loving family. I understand that sounds really great but as much as they preached love and understanding.  They only understand you if you stay in their bubble of acceptance. The only person who truly gets me is my younger brother. We're both cut from the same cloth of awesome weirdness. I tell you this because it's not always hate that spews out on us, destroying who we are. Sometimes it's quiet disapproval or a blind eye. They simply refuse to accept you they way you are despite the preachings of love and understanding. I sometimes feel like I'd rather have the hate and spewed words because at least you can take a stand and fight back. It's hard to fight against a blind eye.

We all deserve love and acceptance. We all deserve to be who we feel we are in our hearts. I won't tell you I don't care who you love. I do care. I care because it matters and I'm happy for you. I care that you decided to take the steps to transition because you will feel complete that way. I care that you found your soul mate, no matter the gender. I care that you are perfectly happy by yourself in your own skin because that's who you are. I hope as the days go on to the rest of the year, not just today that you will at least remember, I care.

We are better than the hate, than the judgement and the lies. We are better and we deserve to be loved. Love each other for everyone is beautiful. No matter what. Be better.

Share your love,


Thursday, May 7, 2015

ARC Review! Spell Bound by Jacob Flores

Spell Bound by Jacob Z. Flores

The Warlock Brothers of Havenbridge: Book One

Mason Blackmoor just can’t compete with his brothers, much less his father. They represent the epitome of black magic, strong, dark, and wicked, and though Mason tries to live up to his respected lineage, most of the spells he casts go awry. To make matters worse, his active power has yet to kick in. While his brothers wield lightning and harness the cold, Mason sits on the sidelines, waiting for the moment when he can finally enter the magical game.

When a dead body is discovered on the football field of his high school, Mason meets Drake Carpenter, the new kid in town. Drake’s confident demeanor and quick wit rub Mason the wrong way. Drake is far too self-assured for someone without an ounce of magical blood in his body, and Mason aims to teach him a lesson—like turn him into a roach. And if he’s lucky, maybe this time Mason won’t be the one turned into an insect.

Not surprisingly, the dislike is mutual, and Drake does nothing to dispel Mason’s suspicion that the sexy boy with a southern drawl is somehow connected to the murder.

If only Mason didn’t find himself inexplicably spell bound whenever they are together, they might actually find out what danger hides in the shadows.

So I was lucky enough to get a request to review this in my email. Once I read the description I had to have it. Let me tell you, you want this. This is the first time I've read a book by this author and I'm totally hooked. I love paranormal books to begin with and he did an awesome job bringing you into a magical world that isn't the standard ones we end up with. 

Now I can't give too much away because it's not out yet! I'll come back and update once it is. Mason is is the baby of the Blackmoor family who isn't quite the awesome black magic spell caster the rest of his family is. Drake is the new guy at school and is throwing Mason off his dark brooding tough guy routine. I love the dynamics between our two guys. No insta hearts in your eyes, a dangerous murderer abouts and secrets to keep. Plus you made me cry. I really loved this book. I can't wait to see how the story continues in book two. Down side of getting a book before it's out is that means you have to wait that much longer for book two! 

I'm looking forward not only to the rest of this series but also to other books by this author. You're on the list sir!

Back in the saddle!

So as some of you may have noticed. Last year we pretty much dropped off the whole review writing. I moved from Tennessee back to AZ. Then was in a horrible car accident. Then had my baby. Needless to say it was a smidge busy. Now as things settle back into a semi normal rhythm I'd really like to get back into writing reviews. So to make up for that I'm going to try to do some reviews on books I read over the past many moons and some more recent ones as well. If you're an author looking for reviews, feel free to hit us up. I'd have you email the bookwhores email but I forgot the password lol. So feel free to write me at steelstories@gmail.com. Happy reading!

Jenny <3

Monday, September 22, 2014

Welcome Guest Author - Michael Kudo

Please welcome our guest Michael Kudo today! We're so glad he could stop by today!

I’m here with BWU today to discuss my writing process – the what, when, where, and how.

I can’t even calculate the amount of times I’ve had friends come up to me and say things like: “Wow, you actually sat down and wrote a WHOLE novel?!” or “I love to write, but it’s so hard staying focused” or even, my personal favorite: “You wrote over fifty-thousand words on a single topic/subject? You must have incredible willpower!”

So after I laugh internally, I smile and shake my head and assure them it isn’t as easy as it sounds. They seldom believe me. I think in their minds, I’m just a godless charlatan who wants to horde the secrets of writing all to myself so I can build an empire and rule the world! A bit dramatic, but you catch my drift.
The point being, it isn’t as easy as they think and to prove it, I’m going to break my writing process down in ten simplified steps.
(1)    Actively decide to write – it may seem like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how hard it is to make that decision. The way writers work (or most of us, anyway) is that we need inspiration to hit in order to write our stories. Inspiration can be anything from memories, a normal, everyday experience, or our characters whispering sweet nothings in our ear. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen every day and if we actually waited for inspiration to hit every single time we sat down to write, we’d never get anything done. Generally, it’s a good rule of thumb to get SOMETHING down. Anything. Even if it’s just a few fragmented sentences. If you’re writing, you’re winning.

(2)    Free myself from distractions – It could be just me, but I’m easily distracted. I’m like an ADHD kid on 7 grams of cocaine, 2 boxes of cookies, and a shot of hard liquor. So that being said, in order to write, my environment needs to be PERFECT if I’m going to get anything done. I need to have white noise of some kind, whether it’s rain (rainymood.com) or the soundtrack to one of my favorite videogames (Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6, Legend of Zelda: Windwaker, or Super Mario RPG, for those who are curious) I just need something to help silence the unhelpful background noises and coax out my creativity. Speaking of videogames, I’m a huge gaming geek. I love playing video games and sometimes it’s hard to stop myself from getting in that extra battleground or playing that extra round of Hearthstone.

(3)    Sum up the chapters – I used to be able to just write as I went along but I’m finding it harder and harder to write that way as of late. I now open a wordpad document and write out the chapters and add 3-5 brief sentences about the key scenes in each chapter I want to touch on. This helps me because I now have a goal to strive towards.

(4)    Write – Yay, I’m writing! How much fun is this? LOOK MA, I’M A WRITER!

(5)    Become distracted…by something – Oh, look, is that a unicorn? Or better yet; well, I’ve written a couple hundred (or thousand) words…I deserve a break. Maybe fifteen minutes of browsing the Internet (read: 1 hour) or a quick match in a video game (read: 2-3 hours)

(6)    Cry and regret life choices – Okay, so maybe it wasn’t a good idea to spend all my free time playing video games and browsing the Internet. My bad.

(7)    Drink and eat chocolate – You know what they say: write drunk, edit sober. And in the middle of a potential emotional breakdown consuming more chocolate that previously thought possible by a human.

(8)    Seek Reassurance – I’m only human. Sometimes it’s nice to be told you’re not a failure and that no matter what, you can do it. For me, my fiancé takes care of that role. =)

(9)    New Resolve – I can do this. I can get this story done.

(10) Finish – After much struggling and mental turmoil, I usually have a novel completed at this point. Tada!

And that’s my writing process.


“I don’t like to be called an Assassin, I prefer the term problem solver.”
My name’s Alex. I’m an average guy. I kill people for a living. But don’t judge me.
I don’t take jobs on just anybody though. I only kill the really annoying people, like cheaters or abusers. So if you think about it, I’m actually doing God’s work—okay, maybe that’s stretching things a bit.
Other than the whole committing murder and trying to get away with it thing, my life is simple.
Well… except for the fact I’m in love with a fellow assassin who happens to be my mentor. I also have to make sure I’m careful when I’m on the job because if I ever fail a hit, I’ll be considered a “liability” and be executed promptly. Oh, and there’s a small chance someone in the organization is trying to have me killed. But I’ll figure that out, eventually. Did I mention I’m gay?
Okay, maybe my life isn’t so simple.
Buy Links:

Author Bio:
Michael was born and raised on the Jersey Shore – the geographical location, not the TV show. As such, he cannot boast having tanned skin, a rock-hard body, or being BFFs with Snooki. His version of GTL is gaming, Tumblr, and Lounging. He didn’t know what to do for a living until he wrote a couple of fun short stories as an English class project and made people laugh, something he’s always enjoyed doing and decided that’s what he wanted in his future.
A self-described “Otaku” (person with obsessive interests in manga, anime, and/or video games) Michael spends most of his time enjoying those things, becoming emotionally attached to fictional characters and collecting every bit of My Little Pony merchandise available.
He lives with his fiancé of five years in the heart of NJ.
Find out more about Michael on his blog (http://michaelmeeps.blogspot.com/) on Twitter (https://twitter.com/MichaelMeeps), and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/michael.meeps)!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Guest Post - Chris T Kat

Five things you didn't know about Robin Evans
Thanks a lot for the chance to be a guest on your blog. Dreamspinner Press will publish my new release, Secret Energy, on August 29th. Secret Energy is a shape-shifter story, and the sequel to Secret Chemistry (http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3520).
The main protagonist in Secret Energy is Robin Evans, a 19-year-old wolf shifter. If you've read Secret Chemistry, you'll probably know some of the things I listed below, but if not, you'll know him better afterward. ;-)

ñ  Most of Robin's family members shift into wolves with gray coats. Only his father, Ralf Evans, and one of his brothers, Tim, have black coats. Robin and his mother have pristine white fur in their shifted forms, which makes them exceptionally beautiful.
ñ  Even as a 19-year-old man, Robin holds dear a stuffed animal he calls 'Mr. Bear'. ;-)
ñ  Robin is a senser, which means he's a gentle soul and rather affectionate. That doesn't mean he'll take any crap from anyone. On the contrary, he fears to be seen as weak and struggles with his identity as a senser.
ñ  Not only is Robin a senser, he's also a healer. He's not as powerful as Jay is, but if they combine their powers, they can heal almost any injury.
ñ  Robin's mate, Peter Brannigan, isn't who Robin expected. Neither did he expect such a big age gap.

In case you've read Secret Chemistry, what appealed to you about Robin? I'm a sucker for guys with deep dimples, which is why Robin has those. ;-)

Buy links:

When wolf shifter Robin agreed to cover for his older brother Tim and Tim’s lover Jay, he never imagined feeling so stifled. Tim's overprotective attitude suffocates him. Pressure from within—the urge to find his own mate—mounts daily. With a little help from Jay, Robin finally convinces Tim to let him go for a run alone, but he has no inkling that his life will change forever as a result.
Unexpectedly, he finds his mate Peter Brannigan, an old and special soul, and the one shifter who can bring balance to Robin’s life. The new couple spend days together, developing their bond as mates. Yet even as they explore and cement their relationship, crisis looms just ahead when an old enemy of the pack shows up and kills someone Robin loves.

The scent called to Robin, setting something free within him—something unfamiliar and primal in nature. Robin’s mood alternated between exhilarated and scared, the combination and sheer intensity of both feelings troubling him.
Robin stopped near a small creek and carefully stepped inside the stream, the cool water soothing his paws and ankles. He took a few swallows of the clear water while his heartbeat slowed down.
The scent was strong around the creek, but Robin was unable to pinpoint it. After raising his snout high in the air, he inhaled the smell deeply, hoping it would infuse his lungs and from there spread to every part of his body, because whatever it was, it had a highly arousing but also calming effect on him. A long, high-pitched yowl broke free from his throat, announcing his longing.
Robin waited before he swept his gaze around. High pines surrounded the small creek, casting shadows on the water’s surface. The creek flowed slowly and smoothly, only occasionally hindered by rocks strewn in its bed. The water swirled around them, creating small vortices that gurgled.
Would anyone answer his plea? What would he do if someone did? Why was he even expecting someone to answer? It couldn’t be his mate—it just couldn’t—although everything would make sense, then.
No one answered Robin. In fact, he couldn’t even hear the usual cacophony of animal noises, just the water lapping at his feet. Robin pricked his ears, concentrating hard on what he could hear—the purling of the creek, the wind whipping through the treetops, and sometimes branches creaking. His breathing sounded harsh, closer to panting. Something wasn’t right, not at all.
Robin walked over to the other side of the stream, the earlier exhilaration dwindling. He shifted from foot to foot, darting his gaze around. An uncomfortable sense of isolation nestled into his insides. Maybe he should have listened to Tim after all?
Shivering, he stood there, not sure whether he wanted to go on with his search or go back to Tim, Jay, and Walter. Going back meant safety, whereas going after his potential mate—or whatever it was he was following—could mean anything.
Robin tucked his tail between his hind legs. He had never heard of a wolf being afraid of his mate. Wouldn’t that mean the scent didn’t belong to his mate? Or maybe his mate was nuts and he somehow recognized it? Whatever the scent was—or to whomever it belonged—it didn’t smell like a wolf.
What if his mate was female?  How would that work? He had never been into girls. He liked them as friends, but any kind of advances had him running for the hills. Robin was gay, period. No, the scent had to belong to a male wolf.
No, wait. He’d already ruled out another wolf.
The darkness settling around him didn’t help the queasy feeling in his stomach. Whichever direction he turned his head, something moved in the shadows, leaving him vulnerable and scared. The moon remained partially hidden behind the clouds, but even if the sky had been clear, the moonlight wouldn’t have been able to illuminate the forest ground properly. Or at least not in a way Robin wanted.
Suddenly he started. The moon? Oh hell! Shouldn’t he have been back hours ago? Surely Tim was already looking for him. Why hadn’t he realized hours had passed? Had his wolf taken over without him noticing? His father obviously had a point with not wanting Robin to go anywhere alone in his wolf form.
Robin threw his head back and closed his eyes before he howled at the moon, the sound of his voice echoing through the forest, silencing every other animal in his vicinity. This time someone answered him. Robin jumped at the sound of a roar at the other side of the creek.
The roar didn’t sound like a wolf; it was too guttural for that. After his initial jump, Robin stood frozen, shock waves rolling through his entire body.

Chris T. Kat

Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there's any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks or does cross stitch.