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My books

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Today, I'm excited to be hosting one of my fellow 'Dirty Dozen', T.M. SMITH!!!

Hello, all!

First, I feel like I ought to clarify who 'the Dirty Dozen' are.  We are twelve authors who have joined together who are appearing at GRL in Chicago this year as 'Supporting Authors'. Supporting authors, by GRL's definition, are at the beginning of their careers in LGBT romance or still attempting to build a backlist and fanbase. So, new kids.  Like me.  And I'm so proud to be in this company.  Max Vos, JC Wallace, Wade Kelly, Carter Quinn, Morticia Knight, Jeff Adams, Rafe Haze, Tempeste O'Riley, Ethan Stone, L E Franks, and the lovely T.M.Smith. See, awesome company, right?

For the next month, we will all be making appearances on each other's blogs, giving readers a chance to get to know us. Today, I'm proud to host T.M. Smith!!

Author bio:

A military brat born and raised at Ft. Benning Georgia; Smith is an avid reader, reviewer and writer. She now calls Texas home from her small town on the outskirts of the DFW Metroplex. Most days you can find her curled up with her kindle and a good book alongside a glass of something aged and red or a steaming cup of coffee!
At 42 years young, she's decided to enter the next phase of her life by adding the title of "author" to her list of accomplishments that includes single mom of three disturbingly outspoken and decidedly different kids, one of which is Autistic. Smith is and outspoken advocate for Autism and equal rights for the LGBTQ community.
Her Opposites series is based outside the normal parameters of social acceptability, examining a 'what if'... What If to be gay or lesbian were the norm? What if to be straight labeled you as an Opposite and made YOU the Outkast?

And now, T.M.'s answers to the interview questions:

~ What inspires you most when you are writing?

Music first and foremost for me. While I like to research the web, books, TV, movies and music; I have several playlists ready for when I’m writing. I especially like to listen to David Garrett, he just gets me in the mood.

~ What brought you to write m/m? What keeps you writing in this genre?

It’s one of my favorite genres to read, so I merged that love with my interest in writing to create my stories. For the most part the fans and my fellow authors are so kind and supportive, it really keeps me going. When a review ends with “Can’t wait for the next installment in this series!” it really makes me want to write it for that person even more.

~ Of all the characters you've written, who is your favorite and why?

While that is like asking me which of my children are my favorite, Aiyan and Kaden, my soul mates, are at the top of the list. Their relationship is probably the most balanced of all my couples. They are versatile and strive to be complete equals in every way. They also have a knack for breaking things, which can be quite fun to create.

~ Many of us have pen names that we use and there are an infinite number of ways and reasons behind them, but I doubt many of them reflect the names we wish we’d been born with.  If you could micro-manage the ultimate do-over, what birth name do you want? What nickname?

First, I do write under a pen name, but it’s not because I don’t want people to know that Tammy Middleton is actually TM Smith. TM Smith is my birth name, the name my parents gave me, so I use that name for my writing to pay respects. Second, I don’t think I would change anything. My name has so much meaning. My mother’s favorite movies when she was a little girl were the Tammy movies, with Debbie Reynolds. And my father’s favorite song for a time was Michelle my bell, so my name reflects a lot of personality from both my parents and I’m proud of that.

~ Name one unusual fact about yourself that you think your readers would be surprised to learn.

I have to bless the house before I watch scary movies, don’t want to let the devil in.

~ What do you do that most injurs the progress of your writing, and why do you do it?

Social Media! It’s a black hole I swear. I think, “I’m just going to check my facebook really quick.” and three hours later. I need to find a way to block facebook and twitter while I’m writing.

~ If you had to trade writing for another creative pursuit, what would it be?

Graphic Design for sure. I’m actually pondering the idea of buying a better design program and working my own covers. I love to create banners and promo pics online, the little finite details fascinate me. And I’m always so happy when I make something pretty or eye catching.

~ In one sentence, write the beginning of a sex scene using some kind of food. Think of it as your hook.

He followed the trail of ice cream that was trickling out the corner of Aiyan’s mouth with the tip of his tongue, before diving right back in to the warmth of his mouth for another sweet kiss. {psssssst. I wrote an entire chapter around this actually, Secret’s and Ice Cream, it can be found in The Library an Opposites novella}

~ Name one of your favorite characters of all time that someone else wrote. Can be M/M or any genre.

Rosalee Hale, the Twilight Saga. I do LOVE a bitch on wheels!!

~ If you could be one of your characters, who would you be and why?

Maeve, again, I love a bitch on wheels.

~ How many versions of a book do you usually write before you arrive at ‘the
one’, and how does your editor impact that?

I’m self published so I don’t have an editor. As far as how many versions, I’ve never kept an actual count but thirty or so I’m sure. I write the book in pieces and then go back and put them all together, which sometimes means I have to rearrange things to fit them in order. I’ve never been able to write chronologically because the ideas come to me sporadically.

~ If you came with a warning label, what would it be?


FIESTY!!!  Ha!  I dig it!

You can find T.M. Smith at the following links:

Author website:

To participate in a giveaway from several of the 'Dirty Dozen', please click the link below!  

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 14, 2014

When packing 69 years of someone's life.

My dad is settling into his new home, a Clare Bridge facility in our local Brookdale Assisted Living complex.  He's doing really well, although I think sometimes the staff forgets the residents are people who still have the capacity to be embarrassed.  My father has always been a very private person; even after taking care of him for more than a year I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen him without his socks on, let alone anything else.  It was what made the assisted living decision for us, ultimately.  He was uncomfortable having me help him dress and undress and use the bathroom, and so was I.  So I had a little 'come to Jesus' meeting with the staff today, and told them to take an additional two minutes to explain to him what they're going to do, rather than just grabbing him and taking care of things like changing his clothes or showering.  Hopefully, they'll listen.  If not, we'll just be doing it again until they do!

After visiting with Dad, I came home to continue the work of packing my parents house.  I can only take so much to a two bedroom apartment, especially when my daughter already lives there. But today I found things I simply cannot bear to part with.  Today, I found the story of my parents lives.

My dad went into the Army when he was nineteen years old and was sent almost immediately to Europe.  He spent the next 291 days in a war zone.  He was a half track commander with two vehicles and ten men under his command, and the top rank he reached was Sargeant. None of his men were killed, even though they fought in the Battle of the Bulge and several other conflicts. Until I was over fifty years old, he never discussed it.  But two years ago we wrote a family history, and he outlined his war time experiences in an essay he titled 'Tales From the Last of Three".  It took me a while to understand what it meant.

My Dad had two brothers, Edward and Robert.  All three of them served during WWII, before the law that 'Saving Private Ryan' is based on came about.  My Grandmother had three gold stars hanging in her front window, in honor of her son's in the service.  What a nightmare that must have been, to send all of your boys into harms way.  I can't even imagine.  By the time Dad wrote his 'tales', he was the last of the three sons left.  Hence the title.  But that short, succinct telling of his time in France, Belgium and Germany didn't tell even half the story.

Today I found a tattered, much taped box of letters.  Every single letter he sent my mother while he was deployed, every single letter she wrote back.  The paper is aged and darkened, and the edges are frayed, but the words leap off of the page.  My parents at 18 and 20, desperately in love in a time and place where the whole world had gone mad.  He called her 'my darling, beloved girl'. She called him 'my sweetheart'.  They bring tears to my eyes, but they also reinforce something I've always known.

I was blessed to know that my parents loved one another.  Every day of their marriage, good and bad, they loved each other.  And I know why my dad's dementia became so much worse when she passed. He never had wanted to live in a world where she wasn't. Now his world is a little blurry around the edges, but it's so much less painful for him that way.  She was his everything.  To love and be loved like that is such an amazing thing.  And I watched it, every day until the day she died. My mom didn't grow old gracefully; she hated every minute of it. But my dad remained devoted to her, remains devoted to her still, and after reading just a few of their letters I understand why.

I feel like I've been given a gift.  One I'll cherish as much as they did when they first tied the ribbons around the letters and placed them in the box sixty nine years ago.  

Sunday, June 29, 2014

A book release and... real life.

I have a book release today.  And I'm very excited about it.  I love the 'Secrets of Neverwood' Anthology, I love my characters in 'The Growing Season', and I love the two writers I wrote the anthology with. G.B.Lindsey and Libby Drew are both people of prodigious talent, and I'm honored to have my name listed with theirs.  So, yes, I'm excited.  I'm also sad.

I'm sad because yesterday I moved my Dad, who I love more than anything on this earth, into assisted living for memory care and Alzheimer's.  Over the last year, I've been his full time caregiver.  And I've watched this wonderful, kind, brilliant man slowly fade away.  I promised him I would keep him home as long as I could, and I did.  But when he looked at me today, and I saw fear in his eyes...  God.  I may never be able to erase that from my mind.

I'm happy about the anthology release.  Very happy.  I believe all three novella's tell compelling stories about love, and loss, and growth.  But today, it's tempered with a heavy heart.

The first book in the Anthology is called 'One Door Closes'.  It seems particularly appropriate to me right now.  Man, I hope somewhere a window opened.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pollyanna's got nuthin' on me!

Someone on my Facebook had one of those little 'sayings' things posted on their page this morning.  I'm not a huge fan of the *IMPORTANT SAYINGS* ones.  I like the funny ones, or the ones with the warm and fuzzy animals.  But this one caught my attention.  I'm para-phrasing, but there was a picture of an arrow and it said: You have to pull an arrow back to launch it.  When you feel as if you're going backwards, just remember it's preparation to be a launched forward.  Or something like that.  And all I could think was, God, I hope so!!

My entire immediate family is on the cusp of change.  I'm moving Dad into a memory care unit this weekend. I've taken care of him at home for the last several years, but his needs have outdistanced my skills. Yesterday he suffered a seizure, which is apparently pretty common with Alzheimer's patients, but scared the beejezus out of me.  Alzheimer's is a hideous disease, and I've watched him slowly disappear inside a little old man who in no way resembles my dad.  I think he'll do better where he has a chance to make friends and the workers there already dote on him, which is great.  It's still breaking my heart.  I know it makes no sense, but I feel like I've failed him somehow.  My siblings have insisted I haven't, philosophically I KNOW I haven't.  Doesn't matter a damn.  It still hurts. But I can feel the outside edges of my patience fraying, and I hate that I'm not bigger than that, too.  And why yes, I am looking for reasons to feel sorry for myself.  Why do you ask?

I'm moving in with my daughter until she gets married in November, and then I will live alone for the first time in my life.  Ever.  How weird is that when you're my age?  My son is moving out of his apartment where he's lived for the last four years and nearer to his college.  I wish someone would explain to me how it is that two full time students don't qualify for low income housing?  I find this just another excuse my government uses to try to balance the budget on the back of college students, but don't get me started on THAT.  And I'm having spinal fusion surgery in August to hopefully deal with the crippling pain I've been living with for going on ten years. And just typing that makes my palms sweat.

I've had surgery before.  Appendectomy, hysterctomy, two c-sections.  I am not unfamiliar with just how 'healing' hospitals are.  But all of that was before my mother mysteriously developed a MRSA infection when she had her hip replaced.  And before my dad came out of anesthesia after he had HIS hip replaced on the slippery downhill slope of Alzheimer's.  And with previous surgeries, they weren't messing with my spinal cord.  And building an erector set inside my body. And telling me I'd need to wear a back brace for three months.  To be honest, I'm completely wigged out. And I don't do wigged out well.  Blargh.  Enough about that.

For the next three weeks, I'll be packing, packing, packing.  Getting Dad moved, then going through 68 years of accumulated junk.  Have I ever mentioned that my mother was a pack rat?  Well, she was.  There is so much crap in this house, but we are going to have one EPIC yard sale when it's over.  And then Goodwill.  Because my mom didn't buy inexpensive junk.  Just lots of it.

The new anthology, "Secrets of Neverwood" comes out on Monday, and I'm very excited about it.  Pride Promotions is doing an awesome job of publicizing it.  I see our very pretty covers everywhere, which is awesome.  And so far its reviewing well at Goodreads.  I don't pay a whole lot of attention reviews after the week of release, but it's very, very nice to see something you've slaved over being well received.

So, my Dad, my children and I move forward.  Things are very, very busy and challenging right now, but I know it's all going to be better.  Whole sale life changes can be difficult, but I know we're going to come out happier on the other side.

And why, yes.  I do answer to the name 'Pollyanna'!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Only sixteen days!

In just over two weeks, the Anthology written by G.B. Lindsey, Libby Drew and myself, 'Secrets of Neverwood', becomes available.  And I'm starting to feel that giddy, butterflies in the stomach feeling that hits before one of my titles goes live.  But it's different this time.  Headier.  And scarier.

Heady because I honestly feel that this collaboration was a complete success.  A tale of three foster brothers, the Anthology begins with G.B.'s "One Door Closes", and middle brother Calvin. Thoughtful and careful, Cal is trying to fulfill his foster mother Audrey's wishes and restore the crumbling Victorian mansion known as Neverwood to its former glory. He also longs to return it to what Audrey wanted it to be, a home for lost boys.  But repairing the old place is costing far more than he imagined, his foster brothers are no help in that regard, and the contractor who turns up to price out the job is the high school boyfriend Cal has never gotten over.  This is G.B.'s debut novel, and I just know once people discover the unique, musical quality of her 'voice', they're going to be clamoring for more.  I've admired her writing for years, and was so honored to be included in this project with her and with the equally brilliant Libby Drew.

My offering is titled "The Growing Season", and is the story of youngest brother, Danny. He's twenty-one years old, and has always been described as 'too pretty to be a boy'.  In looks he takes after his fashion model mother but for his diminutive height, but in attitude he's defensive, secretive and mouthy as hell.  The only thing he can contribute to the restoration of the property is his gift with growing things, and so he undertakes Audrey's beloved gardens, determined to return them to the lush city landmark they've always been.  Enter a handsome landscape architect with worries of his own, and from the moment they meet there's an undercurrent of tension and attraction.  But Danny has painful secrets to protect; can he really allow anyone close?

Libby's "The Lost Year" is the final book in the anthology, and features brother Devon, the eldest of the three .  A free lance photographer who has taken photos of everything from the devastation of a Columbian earthquake to the wandering street kids of Seattle, Devon has made a name for himself in his profession of choice.  Dark and faintly brooding, Devon lets no one close, allows no one entry into his closely held privacy.  Audrey tried.  Even her special brand of motherly affection couldn't tear down his self protective walls.  Then a man comes to him for help, a man who's thirteen year old child has been missing for a year.  A man who believes he sees his sons face in Devon's expose' on the street children of Seattle.  Unable to refuse his plea, Devon agrees to help him look for his son, and risks his heart in the process. 

The three books make up the "Secrets of Neverwood" anthology.  Throw in a well meaning ghost, a mysterious treasure and a particularly evil, hovering threat to the home they all love, and I hope readers will find the brothers engaging and Neverwood a place we'd all like to call home. After all, Audrey's heart and doors were always are still open, and she always has room for one more.