Monthly Archives: July 2012
When I first started this blog, I told you Bud’s story (When Older Kids are Bullied – A Mother’s Story, I Couldn’t Sleep at All Last Night). But I have never told Boo’s story – until now. That is because some key family members were not aware of Boo’s change until a few weeks ago. But now that it’s all out in the open, Boo has given me permission to talk about being transgender.
Boo was my first child, my first-born baby boy. Such a doll baby, a little colicky, but with such a sweet temperament. And so smart!! He won the geography bee at his school in the 8th grade and got to compete against other students from across California at the state competition in Sacramento.
But he always had a hard time fitting in. In middle school they called him “Encyclopedia” because he knew so many facts on so many different subjects and was wiling to spout them at the drop of a hat. His first year of high school was no different. He had a few friends who he hung out with at school, but almost no one who would spend time with him outside of that.
By his sophomore year, Boo was in multiple choirs and had found his niche at school. The choir kids accepted him as their own and he enjoyed learning to run the sound system at church with Art.
During his senior year in high school, Boo was assistant stage manager for the high school musical and met his girlfriend, who went to another high school. They were so much alike they could have been siblings. It was also during this time that Boo let us know he liked to dress in women’s clothes. We were very surprised, but told him it was fine as long as he kept it outside of the house.
Boo left for college in the fall, about 12 hours from home. We talked once a week or so, by phone and it was a hard adjustment for him. He did make some friends right away and talked about going to poetry slams and the gym.
He came home for Christmas, and after that school seemed to become more difficult. Boo told me he had worn a skirt to a poetry slam and was threatened by some men on the bus. We worried about him, but there was not much we could do from such a distance.
In June we drove to Portland to pick Boo up from school. He greeted us wearing makeup and a tank top with a pushup bra. Again we were shocked, but tried to roll with the punches as he treated us to lunch and we helped him pack for the drive home.
Once in the car, Boo dropped the bomb that he was really a girl. For me, it seemed to make sense. I can’t completely say why, but somehow it explained the past couple of years. We had him find a gender therapist as soon as we got home and the past year has been a period of change and some level of acceptance for all of us. In December, Boo started on hormones and can now pass as a girl in public. We are still working on calling Boo “she” and have started transitioning to a different name. It’s not easy, but we all love each other and want to stay together as a family.
Deceived (Book 2 in the Gwen Sparks Series)
Publication Date: December 2011
About the Book:
(From Amazon) The vampire drug, brew, nearly ruined Gwen Sparks’ life. Just when things started to get back to normal between her and Aiden, she is summoned by the North American Witches Council to their central city of Moon. A war is imminent between vampires and witches, and Gwen’s experiences with brew are being used to fuel the fire. She is about to discover just how powerful she is with the help of the ruggedly handsome Angel of Death and just how far some people will go to get what they want. Gwen is going to learn exactly what it means to be Deceived.
I really enjoyed the first book in the Gwen Sparks series by Stephanie Nelson, Craved. Getting to know Gwen and her friends Fiona, Micah, and especially Aiden (hubba, hubba), as well as learning all about the town of Flora and the interactions between different species in the paranormal world. Gwen’s irreverent sense of humor and sensualistic nature made for some very compelling reading!!
I was looking forward to reading Book 2, Deceived, and it was still a good read, but much, much darker than Book 1. Gwen learns the consequences of her run-in with the evil Ian Despereaux, is distrusted by the Witches Council due to her relationship with hunky Aiden, and has to learn to work with the Angel of Death. Along the way Gwen witnesses and is forced to experience some pretty horrific events which we the readers get to encounter right along with her, in pretty thorough detail. It was a little too much for me.
Deceived was not quite to my taste, but it was still a good read with lots of excitement and unexpected twists. My rating: 3 1/2 witch’s cauldrons!!
About the Author:
Unlike most authors, Stephanie Nelson didn’t dream of becoming a writer. Her interest laid in photography. It wasn’t until four years ago when she picked up her first paranormal romance book and fell in love. Books became her addiction and the local bookstore her favorite place to visit. It wasn’t long before her own stories began to form and nag her to try her hand at writing. After countless attempts, Stephanie ended up giving up on writing for a while. But her imagination wouldn’t allow her to quit. Deciding to give it another shot, Stephanie began to write the Gwen Sparks series. The first book in the series, Craved was published seven months later and reached #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list and #6 on the Barnes and Noble bestseller list.
Stephanie resides in the Midwest with her husband and their furry children. When she manages to pull herself away from the computer, she enjoys traveling, fishing, playing board games and spending time with her family.
Interview with the Author:
TM: What draws you toward writing paranormal romance?
SN: I like the uniqueness of it all. Since paranormal creatures are completely fantasy there are no rules. I like the freedom of being able to create my own back story to vampires, witches and werewolves.
TM: What gave you the idea for Craved and Deceived?
SN: I’ve always loved witches, and with the huge vampire craze the idea of vampires and witches being enemies peaked my interest. I just had to figure out why they’d be enemies. Well since vampires drink blood, I figured witches blood would taste different, perhaps be a drug of sorts due to the magic within it. Because of this the vampires crave their blood, hence making them enemies. I liked the idea of Gwen falling for someone who is supposed to be an enemy and seeing if their relationship could withstand such a burden. As for Deceived, it was really just a continuance of the vampires craving the witches blood.
TM: I see that photography is your first love. Are there any similarities between photography and creative writing?
SN: I’m not really into photography anymore. I don’t have the time now. But I use to love it. I had a Nikon D50 SLR camera that I adored, but ending up selling because it collected more dust than pictures. One of my very first jobs was working at a portrait studio, and I thought that’s what I’d do with the rest of my life. But I caught the writing bug and the now I”m more focused on books than pictures.
TM: Tell us about your writing routine.
SN: I have a small office that I ended up redecorating and claiming as my own. I turn on music and just start writing. I know that sounds simple, but it’s the truth. Even on days that I’m not inspired to write, I still do it. After a few paragraphs I get sucked into the story and it all flows freely from that point on. I never plot or plan my books. I think you lose a lot of the surprise that way. I allow my characters to direct me through their actions and responses. I always start a book knowing the main plot points but that’s all. I learn about the story as I get further into it.
TM: Please tell us about your upcoming projects.
SN: Right now I am working on Coveted, Gwen’s 3rd book, and Embracing the Wolf which is the 2nd book in my Anna Avery series. I am also part of an anthology that will be releasing in October.
Follow Stephanie Nelson on Facebook.
on her blog
As you may know, Bud graduated from high school in June. Of course, I am a very proud mama, but also poor and frugal, and Bud is very self-conscious, so between the two of us, we really procrastinated getting his senior portraits taken. Our photographer Lissa McKee, met us at a nearby park and she did such a great job making Bud feel comfortable. She gave me the photos on DVD and said we could do whatever we wanted with them. That way I was able to email family and friends and let them pick which photos they wanted and what sizes before I print them. All for a reasonable price!!
Here’s Bud’s favorite photo:
A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by EasyCanvasPrints.com to see if I would like to review their business. I jumped at the chance to have Bud’s photo transferred to archival quality canvas that will last for decades.
The process was so easy!! I just created an account at EasyCanvasPrints.com and chose the size canvas I wanted (8″x10″) and the thickness of the wrap around the frame (.75″ is perfect if you want to frame your canvas, 1.5″ if you want the canvas to “stand out” from the wall, or you can pay to have it framed for you). Next, I uploaded the photo via Facebook (you can also upload an Instagram photo or one you have saved on your computer). The website will let you know if your photo is of high enough quality to reproduce well. Next I chose a wall hanger versus a canvas stand (this option lets you display your canvas on a table or other flat surface without a frame). I chose the mirror image border (other options are image wrap or a colored border).
Finally, to complete your order you can choose to convert your photo black and white or sepia tone for an additional fee. You can also pay extra to have your photo retouched.
The photos on canvas are giclees made from archival inks. A giclee is made from a special process of ink printing used to reproduce works of fine art as it has the ability to mimic the hue and tone of an original. If you don’t have a photo you want reproduced, you can choose from millions of stock images on the website to create a work of art you can hang on your wall with pride.
The turnaround time on my canvas print was very quick, just about a week. And it looks great:
The photo above doesn’t do the print justice. The colors are very clear and crisp and it is so beautiful!! I’m so happy that we will be able to remember this moment in time for years to come!!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free from EasyCanvasPrints.com, a division of BuildaSign (create custom signs within minutes). Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
Carl Hose, author of horror anthologies Dead Rising and Deadtown and Other Tales of Horror Set in the Old West, has brought together such prominent horror fiction authors as Deborah LeBlanc (The Wolven (Harlequin Nocturne)), Scott Nicholson (Liquid Fear), and British horror favorite Graham Masterton (Descendant) to compile the horror anthology Dark Light, from which all proceeds are to benefit Ronald McDonald House.
Here, in Carl’s own words, is his reason for spearheading this generous project:
My daughter Ireland Joy Hose was due to come into the world on March 3rd, 2012. Since my wife Marcee was going to have a C-section, her doctor scheduled her to deliver Ireland February 13th. It’s typical to schedule C-sections about two weeks before the actual due date, but in my wife’s case, the C-section was scheduled a little earlier because she had complete placenta previa, meaning her placenta was blocking the birth canal. This is normally not a problem unless the previa turns into accreta, which means the placenta attaches to body organs and actually begins to grow into them (pretty alien-like). This can result in severe hemorrhaging and may require a partial or even a complete hysterectomy.
All of this is beside the point. Ireland decided she wanted to show up on January 27th at 10:35 P.M. She was six weeks premature, 18 inches long, and weighed just 4 lbs. 13 oz.
Marcee had gone to the gynecologist that day. He told her she was having contractions. We went to the hospital, where they tried to stop her contractions. It didn’t happen. Marcee started bleeding, and while I write about blood all the time, seeing it pour from my wife’s body was pretty damn scary.
I was in the operating room when Ireland was delivered. She came out fine, although she would have her own struggles ahead of her in the coming weeks. Shortly after the nurses began cleaning Ireland up, one of the doctors said to another doctor that Marcee had accreta and would need a hysterectomy. I was caught between the joy of my daughter’s birth and my wife’s fragile situation.
The doctors began pumping my wife full of anesthesia and she was fading fast. All she wanted was to hear our baby girl cry, to know Ireland was all right. “Cry, baby girl,” she said, and when Ireland began to wail, Marcee drifted off.
I was ushered from the OR with Ireland in my arms. What followed was a two-and-a-half-hour wait while the doctors performed surgery on Marcee. There was a lot of blood loss, but in the end she came through the surgery alive and eager to see Ireland. Barely able to sit up, she insisted I wheel her to the nursery, where she held Ireland for the first time, a full four hours after Ireland was born.
Because Ireland was premature, she was going to be spending time in the NICU. She was moved to a different hospital—one that was further away from where we lived—the next night. Marcee and I agreed I should go with Ireland. There was really no discussion necessary. This, however, left Marcee alone to deal with the trauma of her experience without me or her newborn daughter to comfort her.
One of the memories that haunts me still is seeing an ambulance with the words Neonatal Transport Unit on the side and thinking, that’s a baby ambulance and it’s here for my baby.
I arrived at the hospital where my daughter was taken late that night. The blur begins here, so I don’t have the exact time. The NICU staff suggested I get a room at the Ronald McDonald House. I insisted I didn’t need one, that I would be staying at my daughter’s side day and night. They worked hard to convince me a room at the Ronald McDonald House made more sense—that it would be more comfortable than a chair in the NICU. If it had just been me, they probably wouldn’t have changed my mind, but since I knew Marcee was planning to join me as soon as she could strong arm the doctor’s into discharging her (which she did in record time), I relented and allowed one of the nurses to contact the Ronald McDonald House nearby to reserve us a spot.
It turns out no reservation was needed that night. Hospital security drove me to the Ronald McDonald House where we would be staying. It so happened I was the only guest at the time. The house was a quaint looking affair that reminded me of a bed and breakfast in the country—from the outside. Inside was a maze of stairways and narrow hallways that housed about thirty rooms. The security guard said I wouldn’t be able to get a key until morning, so once he left, I wouldn’t be able to get in and out. The doors lock automatically.
After the security guard left, I wandered around the house. It was beautiful. Hardwood floors, stocked library, fully-stocked kitchen (help yourself to anything you want), fireplace, and a playground outside for kids. It was amazing.
And a little creepy.
The house sat in a beautiful residential area with red brick streets and lots of gorgeous trees, but at night, alone as I was, still a little in shock over the premature birth of my daughter and the bloody mess that was Marcee’s surgery, my mind began working overtime. I imagined all sorts of creaking floors and shadows moving through the house—hell, maybe it wasn’t my imagination. In any case, sleep did not come easy that night. I’d seen far too many horror movies, written far too many horror stories myself, not to know what usually becomes of lone visitors in quaint country homes in the middle of the night. I called Marcee to let her know I was settled in and that I thought I had the company of ghosts, or maybe something much worse.
With no key, I used my overnight bag to prop the door open so I could step outside and have a cigarette.
It was a foggy night—isn’t it always?
One cigarette became two, two became three. I stood outside in the fog, looking through the chilly darkness, grateful to have a new daughter, but afraid for how fragile she seemed to be; happy Marcee came through the surgery alive, but sad she was alone at another hospital; missing our boys, who would end up seeing us very little over the next three weeks (although they were well taken care of, thanks to Marcee’s mom and dad).
It was 3:00 A.M when I finally went back inside and stretched out on the bed, fully clothed, lying on top of the covers.
Marcee arrived the next day. She shouldn’t have been walking at all, but she wouldn’t be denied her daughter. We spent the next three weeks living at the Ronald McDonald House (they moved us from the bed-and-breakfast model to one that resembled a fairly expensive hotel). Our days were filled with walking from the Ronald McDonald House to the hospital and back again. We would feed and change our daughter, hold her, and watch as she began to overcome the challenges of prematurity. She did those things like the little champ she is. I believe having us with her day and night helped contribute to her impressive adjustment to being thrust into the world so early. She is just over two months old at the time of this writing and healthy as can be. Marcee is doing great too.
The Ronald McDonald House played a big part in making this happen. They provided food, shelter, homemade gifts from volunteers, and even cards for Valentine’s Day. We didn’t need to do anything except be there for Ireland. If not for the Ronald McDonald House, Marcee and I would have had to travel every day to see Ireland, or we would have had to sleep in the NICU to be with her. We would have gladly done either, but the Ronald McDonald House made it so we didn’t need to.
The Ronald McDonald House does this for thousands of families every hour of every day of every year.
I came up with the idea for this anthology one night while Marcee and I were in our room at RMH. We wanted to give back to the organization not only for what it was doing for us, but what it has done for families since the first Ronald McDonald House opened its doors in 1974. The organization operates strictly on donations, and the best way I could think to give back was to use my talent with words.
I knew I couldn’t do it alone, however, so I called upon some of the best names in horror fiction to help out. The response was overwhelming. With very few exceptions, every author I contacted was willing to participate. I also received stories from writers who saw the call for submissions on Dark Markets. It wasn’t long before I had more stories than I could possibly use—enough to fill two volumes of Dark Light.
You can download a sampler of the first pages of some of the stories from Dark Light by clicking here:Dark Light Sampler – Carl Hose MARLvision Publishing
If you would like to purchase Dark Light and help out the Ronald McDonald house, click here.
Follow Carl Hose on Facebook.
on his website
You can also help the cause by tweeting about this post, liking it on Facebook and entering on the Rafflecopter below to win a Kindle Wi-Fi: