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Welcome, Duke!

After the loss of our beloved Kumar, we grieved for several weeks. At first, Nelson seemed to enjoy being an “only puppy,” since he was now the center of attention and getting all the love and pets he could ask for. Not that we hadn’t love him before, but now we no longer had “Erich’s Kumar” and “Jamie’s Nelson,” the way it had kind of settled into for the past three years. Now Nelson was it!

But it became clear he was missing his older brother. Walks weren’t as much fun anymore, without Kumar sniffing at interesting things beside him. Everything was more… subdued, for Nelson and for us.

But Erich and I had made the decision to get another dog, back when Kumar was undergoing chemo. It wasn’t an easy decision—we didn’t like the feeling that we were looking to “replace” Kumar. Nothing could ever replace Kumar. But I knew how hard it would be when we lost Kumar. I’d lost my dog, Lady, shortly before meeting Erich, and I was so devastated I couldn’t even think about getting another dog for almost a decade. Eventually, I persuaded Erich, and he promised me another puppy for Christmas.

It didn’t work out that way. But Erich told me he still wanted to honor his promise to me, even though it was painful now. So I went to the local shelter websites and discovered an adorable yellow Lab pup. I called the shelter and they said he was still available, so my friend Claire and I decided to visit them in a couple of days. I wasn’t going to get a pup without Erich’s approval, of course, but I thought it might be easier if I made the first steps while he was working. However, he insisted upon taking time off work to accompany us.

We drove to the Cocheco Valley Humane Society in Dover, NH and met the puppy I’d been interested in. He was very fearful of strangers and not particularly interested in us. So while we debated if we wanted to win him over, the staff brought out some other dogs they thought we might be interested in. The first was a sweet girl who’d recently had pups. We’d kind of hoped for a large dog, though. She was small, and after a polite greeting, she drifted away from us. One of the problems with shelters is that the dogs come to love the staff more than the weird strangers who come in. It’s understandable, but makes it more challenging when you want to find out if a dog will fit into your household.

Then they brought out Duke.

Duke immediately ran to us and began slathering our faces with dog kisses. He had no fear of strangers, he was big—we still don’t know how big he’ll get, but he’s nearly as big as Kumar and obviously still growing—and he seemed to like Nelson. They played for a bit, though Nelson was very nervous, especially after the 40-minute car ride. (He hates being in the car.) I took one look at Erich’s delighted smile as Duke tried to bathe his entire face in wet dog kisses and I knew we’d found our pup.

I’d be lying if I said Duke was settling in easily. We’ve had a much bigger struggle with him than we ever did with Kumar and Nelson. His idea of play is to body slam you, whack you in the face with the back of his head, gnaw on your hands, and push you down the stairs. Woo-hoo! I almost never raised my voice to Kumar, but Duke has me shouting myself hoarse and spraying him constantly with the water bottle. Crate timeouts are about the only thing that will calm him down, once he gets going.

But when he is calm, he’s a sweet, loving pup we can’t resist. We’re doing our best to help us all adjust to one another. Erich and I are in our 50s and have health issues that limit how much we can run around with him. I take Duke and Nelson for walks in our forest once a day, we’ve booked him into doggie daycare (though he’s occasionally had to be given timeouts there for fighting over toys), and we have a dog pen he and Nelson can run around in. Nelson doesn’t seem very interested in playing with Duke, most of the time. Sometimes. But he doesn’t have nearly as much energy as Duke has (He’s five and a half, now—no longer full of puppy energy), and it’s been a challenge to get them to play nicely together. Nelson can hold his own against Duke, despite Duke being a bit larger, but he doesn’t always seem to like it. So we’re trying to keep an eye on them and pull him out when he’s tired.

Overall, it’s been a challenge, but Duke is gradually learning to behave himself with us. We still haven’t dared invite our friend with the small dog over—the last thing we want is for Duke to hurt him, even inadvertently—and we still have to give him a lot of timeouts when he’s out of control. But more and more he’s becoming part of our family.

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Thirty Years of Pride

Thirty Years of Pride

by Jamie Fessenden

I came out in the early eighties, when I was still a teenager. I also had the misfortune of attending the Assembly of God church my father attended. So right out of the starting gate, before I’d even had my first sexual experience, I was EVIL. I prayed about it in secret, read the Bible, and fought my “sinful urges” for about a year, until I realized I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t deny how I felt, I couldn’t accept the lame explanations for why sex with someone of the same gender was wrong, if both of us were consenting adults, and I couldn’t continue to participate in a religion that made no sense to me.

So, I gave up on Christianity.

Maybe if I’d known my stepfather at the time (a Baptist minister my mother married, when I was in college), I’d have stuck it out. Bob is a wonderful man with an inclusive view of his religion. But I didn’t know him back then. While my mother accepted me without condemnation, she was divorced from my father and no longer attended church, which didn’t make her the best person to bring me back into the fold. (To be fair, I didn’t come out to my father back then, and I’ve since discovered he’s a bit more open-minded than his church.)

This was a decade after Stonewall, but though things had changed, it was still not a welcoming world for a young gay man. As a teenager, I was convinced I had to be the only gay man in my small town. I could find no evidence of an LGBTQ community. Keep in mind, this was before the Internet. There was nothing to guide me, except the few gay porn magazines in the bookstore. The used bookstore in town had some gay novels. I bought pretty much every one I found, as well as the ones that popped up sporadically over the next several months (this should have been a clue that other gay men were in the area, but I was slow.) Unfortunately, nearly all ended tragically, which just sent me into a downward spiral of depression. I was convinced that gay men could never find love and settle down with a family. We were doomed to anonymous encounters in porn shops, and death from AIDS or gay-bashing.

Read the rest on BG Thomas’s blog:

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No, I did not post about Instagram whatsa-whosits…

At least, I didn’t write the post. Someone hacked my account. I’ve changed my password, so hopefully there won’t be more of those. I apologize for spamming everyone’s inbox.

Jamie Fessenden (the real one)

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Guest blog: BA Brock on “King of the Storm”

KingoftheStormFSThanks for having me on your blog, Jamie!

You and I have discussed games before, whether they be single player video games with the new graphic card from factschronicle, tabletop role playing games, or even silly games about scrubbing dudes’ backs in the shower (that happened). And while I love many kinds of games for various reasons, I’d love to discuss several games I’ve specifically used as inspiration for my writing.

The very first story I published was about how my husbear and I met playing World of Warcraft. And my debut novel, King of the Storm, was inspired by the roleplaying game, Dungeons and Dragons you can check a lot of this games in elitist gaming, one of the best gaming websites if you want to Know More go here and check it out.

When D&D Next (5th Ed.) came out, my gaming group had to try it. D&D Next was fairly simple in structure, but my team and I found ourselves frustrated with the limitations to healing powers, and other mechanics. It was this struggle that helped me define how I wanted magic to work in my world for King of the Storm.

FATE ultimately became my favorite game structure for storytelling. My first FATE game was actually a Dresden Files campaign, but from there my group and I have done science fiction, post-apocalyptic, and fantasy. The options are limitless. With FATE campaigns, your character has a fatal flaw you create as part of their profile, and the storyteller can use your flaw to put you up a tree and throw rocks at you. It’s up to your team, your attributes and skills, and sometimes pure dumb luck, to get yourself down. Which is essentially the basics to storytelling!

Another game I love is The Sims. I’ve been playing since 1997 (SimCity 2000). The Sims is a simulated life game, and while not plot heavy, it allows you to create avatars with near identical images and personalities to your characters, and set them up with their potential love interests. You can observe character interaction; either how their personalities clash, or how they collide together into some very hot “Woo Hoo” action (Teen rated, of course). I can’t keep my current couple off each other, but I’ve had sims who cheat with the neighbors, die in all sorts of accidents, and also settle down and have multi-generational families. With each expansion, you can send your character into the unknown, and that’s another something I love to explore with stories.

It’s hard to take the gamer out of the writer, and I’m always trying to get my hands on other works of fiction about roleplaying games. In Screwups, Jamie has a group of characters who live action role play, which I found entertaining and hilarious. I felt as if they were pretty tame compared to some of the live action role players I’ve seen, but they were still pretty funny. You should check it out.

Thanks for having me, Jamie!

fullresB.A. Brock has lived most of his life in the Pacific Northwest. He graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in 2007 at Portland State University—which he mostly uses to contemplate how we can achieve a civilization more closely aligned with Star Trek.

When not writing, Brock spends his time reading/reviewing novels, training for marathons, and bemoaning the fact that the world has yet to make a decent gluten free donut.

You can find more of his works, as well as reviews and his blog at



KingoftheStormFSKing of the Storm


No one can outrun destiny or the gods.

In Epiro, a kingdom in Greece, Perseus is prophesied to be a great demigod hero and king, with a legacy that will shape the world of Gaia. When he was born, his grandfather exiled him, and his mother brought them to Seriphos, where she created an academy for demigod youth. Perseus trains there and waits for the day when he will be able to take the throne of Argos.

Despite potential future glory, Perseus’s fellow students think he is weak. By the time he reaches manhood, he has given up the hope of having any real friends, until Antolios, a son of Apollo, takes an unexpected interest in him.  Perseus and Antolios fall in love, but Antolios knows it cannot last and leaves Seriphos.

Perseus, grief-stricken and lonely, rebels against the Fates, thinking he can avoid the prophecy and live his own life.  But when the gods find him, he is thrust into an epic adventure. With his divine powers he fights gorgons, sea serpents, and other monsters, and he battles against his darker nature. Perseus strives to to be the man he wants to be, but the gods have other plans.

Buy Links:

DSP Publications:


Barnes and Noble:;jsessionid=DDFEC4ED6F172948359F60D03A8737BF.prodny_store01-va07?ean=2940150812529


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9/11 -God are you listening?

Fred says it very well.

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Celebrate Dreamspinner Press’s eighth anniversary!

Year3and4_FBpostDreamspinner Press is celebrating its eighth year by having weekly sales. Last week, we had sales on all books by authors who joined DSP in its first and second years, and this week, we have 35% off all books by authors who joined in its third and fourth years.

And that would be me!

I published my first story with DSP (really my first story anywhere) in its fourth year, along with other fantastic authors like Victor J. Banis, J.P. Barnaby, Sue Brown, Kate Sherwood, Christopher Koehler, Rick R. Reed, Shelter Somerset, Eden Winters, Michael Halfhill, Sarah Madison, and… well, the list is huge!

And when you add in the authors from DSP’s third year, who are also on sale this week, it’s bigger than huge! (Whatever that would be. Giga-huge? Huge-normous?)

The entire list is on the home page at Dreamspinner.

So if you’re in the market for some terrific books at a 35% discount, head on over to Dreamspinner Press!


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Love Without the Words

Some good advice from the Huffington Post, with some commentary from author Thorny Sterling. 🙂

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Twist Arms – Lose Friends

I really haven’t been drawn to Google+ and I’m just getting the feel for Twitter, but it looks as if Facebook might force it upon many of my friends (it might not affect me directly), and I’ll probably have to follow. Pages are unacceptable.

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Today-only sale on my YA novels Dreams of Fire and Gods!

FrugalFridayThis Friday, Harmony Ink is having a sale on all three of the Dreams of Fire and Gods eBooks! That’s including the first novel, Dreams, which won Best LGBT YA Novel at the Rainbow Awards last year.

Each one is just $1.99, so the entire trilogy is just about six dollars!

Here are the blurbs and buy links for each one:

  1. Dreams of Fire and Gods: Book One

    A thousand years ago, two factions of gods, the Stronni and the Taaweh, nearly destroyed the Kingdom of Dasak by warring for the land and the frightened humans who lived there. Then suddenly the Taaweh vanished and the Stronni declared victory.

    Now, as tensions escalate between the emperor and his regent, Vek Worlen, the vek’s son, apprentice mage Sael dönz Menaük, finds himself allied with a homeless vagabond named Koreh. Together they flee the capital city and make their way across a hostile wilderness to the vek’s keep, mere steps ahead of the emperor’s assassins.
    But Koreh has dreams—dreams of the ancient Taaweh—and he knows the looming war between the emperor and the vek will be nothing compared to the war that is about to begin. The Taaweh are returning, and the war between the gods may destroy the kingdom once and for all.
  2. Dreams of Fire and Gods: Book Two
    A thousand years ago, two rival factions of gods, the Stronni and Taaweh, nearly destroyed the Kingdom of Dasak in their war for power. Then the Taaweh vanished and the Stronni declared victory.Now, tensions between the human emperor and his regent are at an all-time high. The regent’s son, apprentice mage Sael dönz Menaük, has fled the capital with his master and united with a vagabond named Koreh, but assassins dog their footsteps. The future is more uncertain than ever.Since the Taaweh city of Gyishya reappeared, the mages of Harleh have weakened, cut off from the source of their power. Sael and his father struggle to keep their respective cities from crumbling under the strain or being destroyed by the gods. Then Koreh learns of a dangerous Taaweh plan to rescue their queen from the Stronni—a plan only Koreh and Sael can execute.But they may not get a chance. In Harleh Valley, a young man named Donegh pieces together what happened. Intent, he makes his way through an increasingly alien landscape to carry out his mission: assassinate the Dekan of Harleh, Sael dönz Menaük.
  3. Dreams of Fire and Gods: Book Three
    Long ago, two factions of gods, the Stronni and the Taaweh, nearly destroyed the Kingdom of Dasak in a great war. The Taaweh vanished when their queen was imprisoned, and the Stronni declared victory. A thousand years later, a young nobleman named Sael and his lover Koreh have rescued the Taaweh queen. In the process Koreh was killed, and now an injured Sael struggles to heal from both injuries and grief. Unknown to him, Koreh embarks on a journey across the land of the dead, trying to make his way back to Sael—and to life. But time moves differently in the underworld, and decades pass while Koreh travels.In the living world, tensions between the emperor and Sael’s father, Vek Worlen, who is regent of the eastern kingdom, have soured beyond repair. Worlen conspires with the assassin Donegh to break into the imperial palace and challenge the emperor to a duel to the death. But the goddess Imen has chosen a young priest named Gonim as her champion. Through him she discovers the Taaweh have returned, and her enraged king threatens to destroy Dasak and all its human inhabitants. Sael must save his world, must confront the gods and persuade them not to destroy humankind. But it seems hopeless. If only Koreh were at his side…

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The “I’m Not Gay” Homosexual

Worth a read. I went through something similar as a teenager. I knew I was attracted to men, but the idea that I might be “gay” was simply impossible. My church taught me that good people couldn’t be gay, and I believed it. Therefore, I must just be “confused” or maybe my faith was being tested.  I didn’t discuss this with anyone in my church, of course – I wasn’t insane. I simply prayed a lot.

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