I was grateful to Dreamspinner when they announced that they were publishing two different anthologies to help the LGBTQ organizations here in Florida in the wake of the Pulse shooting. While there were other publishers who were publishing anthologies, and authors joining together to write stories to publish in one, as well, for me I knew that I would be submitting, at the very least, one story to DSP.
Because of Julianne Bentley and Anne Regan.
Julianne is one of the editors at DSP and she was the one whom I spoke to the most while I was in the hospital. She emailed me, encouraged me, uplifted my spirits, and when I told her I was “so bored” because I wanted to write but couldn’t, well, she gave me some work to do and some books to read.
So when the shooting in Orlando happened, one that rocked the LGBTQ community as a whole, and that of our allies, but that affected me so personally, it was Julianne that I first told at DSP. Her response?
“*hug* Sending my love. My thoughts are with all of you out there. There just aren’t any words for it, it’s too big.”
And that right there, at least for me, was the perfect response. I’ve been the recipient of too many cliche platitudes of sympathy in my life, whether it was the loss of one of my best friends and soulmate Justin, the loss of my fiance and love of my life Christopher, the loss of my great-grandmother “Granny Mary” the day before GRL 2011, the loss of my favorite older cousin, who died on the same day as two of my other cousins,and many others, that when I get the “I’m so sorry. My thoughts and prayers are with you…” cliche response, sometimes it just serves to make me angry (though I find myself giving it to others. Yes, I recognize the hypocrisy.).
So when DSP announced their plans for the One Pulse and Love Wins anthologies, I knew I had to write for them. But I was (and am) still recovering from being in the hospital, and still struggling to live on a host of new medications, dealing with the reality of my diagnosis, and having to go back and forth to the hospital as they discover new problems with my health. So I was a little wary about committing but I knew I was going to try. So when I wrote to Anne who was sort of spearheading the entire thing, submissions and the like, to ask her a question about the anthology, I told her why it was so special and important to me, and why I was going to try my hardest-in spite of my health issues-to submit a story for it.
Anne was great. She offered her condolences, her sympathy, shared a bit of her own heart with me, and answered my question… in one email. She didn’t break it up into pieces or be blase about it. She was real with me, just as real as I was with her.
So I’m happy to be a part of this anthology. Not just because of its purpose, but because of the realness behind every story, every edit, every promotion. Our community was wracked to the very depths of its soul, to our core, by the tragedy that occurred June 12, 2016. But just as Orlando is strong, just as the LGBTQ community in Florida has stood strong, and proud, and unwavering, in the face of this tragedy, so too do we all stand. Arm in arm, brothers and sisters in the fight for love, equality, and in our quest to live our truths and be real.
Because we are all Orlando. We are all one heart. One beat.
Brief Blurb of My Story:
The Wooing of the Marqués de Sierra de Outes by Vicktor Alexander
A Scandalous Whispers of the Remmington Realm story
El Marqués de Sierra de Outes has been searching high and low for the enchanting male woman he danced with only briefly years before. But when he meets his former dance partner again, Señora Juan Manuel Eva Ibáñez has no interest in becoming his lover, and the marqués must find another way to pursue his courtship.
El Marques de Sierra de Outes, Antoñito Garcia Pablo Calderon, has been searching high and low for the enchanting male woman he danced with only briefly before Nafoleon’s armies captured Tspain three years ago. The male had been the most gorgeous woman Antoñito had ever had the fortune to hold in his arms, and now that Tspain is free once again, Antoñito is determined to find him, court him, and make him his Marquess. Throughout the war against Nafoleon, the beautiful, seductive, stranger had never been far from Antoñito’s thoughts.
And now that Antoñito has returned, he is prowling every ball, dance, drawing room, musicale, and dinner, hoping for a glimpse of the enchantress. Though he has changed from the man he once was, responsible now for the care of his youngest sister Maria, and he must get married and produce an heir and spare, Antoñito cannot get the dark-haired beauty from his thoughts.
Then one night, at the Duque’s ball, Antoñito sees him. The woman from his dreams. While it seems that his gorgeous former dance partner, Señora Juan Manuel Eva Ibáñez, son of Don Biscay, has no interest in becoming his lover or being courted by him, he is taken with the idea of being Antoñito’s governess for his sister Maria.
When Juan is offered the job by Antoñito thinks it is a dream come true… somewhat, even if it is with the man who has made him put hand to groin more than once a day over the last few years merely with thoughts of him. Antoñito is not even bothered by the exorbitant amount of money Juan names to take the position, and promptly moves Juan into his home. However, Juan soon discovers that Antoñito has ulterior motives and that Maria is in on it. Refusing to be a part of their scheme, Juan rejects every pass Antoñito makes at him in an attempt to court and woo him, even going so far as to serve Antoñito’s women companions refreshments when he brings them home.
What will it take for Antoñito to win Juan’s hand, or will the tables turn and Juan become the one to woo the Marques?
Stories drive life. Sometimes life is good; sometimes life is bad. But it’s the nature of our community that in the aftermath of an act of hatred, we respond with love. Because darkness cannot exist in the presence of light. Cruelty cannot stand against compassion. Negativity will never overcome hope.
To show our support for those affected by the Orlando shooting, our authors, editors, artists, and staff have volunteered their talents to create this anthology. All proceeds will be donated to LGBT organizations in central Florida. Join us as we celebrate the triumph of love over every obstacle.
Jon Keys—A Single Night
Alicia Nordwell—About Best Friends & Boyfriends
Mickie B. Ashling—Adíos
M.T. Aspen —Asking for Trouble
M.A. Church—Chasing Tyme
Caitlin Ricci—Coming Out
Bree Cariad—Everyday Miracles
Chrissy Munder—Everything I Need
Ellis Carrington—For the First Time
Felicitas Ivey—Get Me to the Church Town Hall on Time
John Amory—Happy Pride
Grace R. Duncan—Hope
John Goode—Let Them Eat Cake
J. C. Long—Magical Boys Just Wanna Have Fun
Renee Stevens—More Than a Pact
Troy Storm—One Big Happy… Bunch
Connie Bailey—One Heart at a Time
Lila Leigh Hunter—Raffled Kiss
Emery C. Walters—Ranch Dressing
C.C. Dado—Read My Lips
Sera Kane—The Stag’s Bane
KC Burn—The Tithe
Vicktor Alexander—The Wooing of the Marqués de Sierra de Outes
Edmond Manning—They Danced