Going to GRL? Challenge Randy Jansen to a Game.

In less than twenty-four hours, the family Cullinan will leave from Iowa and head to the GayRomLit Retreat in Bloomingdale, Illinois. We’ll arrive Wednesday night, and we’ll be leaving Saturday evening by seven at the latest so I can swing by and see my grandmother on Sunday afternoon, hopefully in her home, not the care center she’s currently recovering in.

You can find me anywhere at the retreat, and please come and say hi to me. In fact, I have a little game I’ll be playing with retreat-goers. This will be posted in my swag area, but in the meantime:

Let’s Play a Game

I’ll be playing this game at my signing table too as long as I don’t have a line at that moment–anytime you see the deck of cards, it’s fair game to play. If you’re not able to attend the retreat but are in the Chicago area, the Saturday afternoon signing is open to the public. Please stop by!

Seventeen

Last night, as I snuggled with Dan in bed, I thumbed out a chat with a friend having a hard moment and wanting, desperately, advice on a relationship crossroads. That in itself isn’t so unusual, but it’s worth noting the friend is a sophomore in college and I was on the cusp of my seventeenth wedding anniversary.

That contrast really echoed in me as I gave my fifty cents worth of thoughts, because he’s only a few years younger than I was when I met Dan. This friend is a lot like me too–we aren’t exactly two peas in a pod, but he’s filled with passion and idealism, and I have to say, twenty-two years have worn away some of my vigor and cracked my rose-colored glasses, but my heart has never left that state. He, thankfully, is so much smarter and well-balanced than I was at that age, so I live in hope with a few more years he’ll whiz right by me and he can be my sage advisor.

Last night it was my turn with the cup of knowledge, though, and the thing I kept circling back to was talking about how long-term relationships very quickly become sentient beings. This is true of platonic unions as well, of course. Relationships always start out as an ideal in our head: something about the person in front of us speaks to a need in our own hearts. And while the wild crush of first love is in bloom, the imperfections are washed away by endorphins and other exotic brain chemicals.

Eventually those fade, however, and that’s when the relationship becomes its own thing. Warts begin to appear. Problems arise. Deficiencies become cracks in the veneer and sometimes allow whole sections of our imagined ideal partner to fall away. When this long-term relationship is romantic, sex gets tangled in the mix, as do all our culturally imposed ideals of what the perfect partner is. Now is the grand moment, when we see not who we want to see, but who is truly in front of us.

If you keep going in a relationship, if you spin out not only months but years and then decades, the relationship as sentient being spins and twirls and digs in grooves until it weaves its own DNA. Draw back far enough to look at it and you see the dark whorl where you nearly broke apart, or the shadow where you were distant. During the first blush of partnering, you swore you would never have those moments. You would be the Hallmark couple, someday the cute wrinkled old people holding hands on a swing.

The truth of course is that every wrinkled old couple holding hands comes with eons of moments grand and disappointing. A long-term relationship is a life. It isn’t a game you win or lose, it is a joy and honor to be able to have, whether for a few months or for years. Every challenge and test is a chance to knit yourself closer or admit you should unravel. It’s a story, your story. It is beautiful and ugly and disappointing and strengthening and unexpected and comforting.

When I was young and I dreamed of a partner, I wanted so many things. Someone smart and witty and kind. Someone who would challenge me and lead me and protect me. Even I knew all the things I wanted was such a crazed set of ideals I never dared dream. When I met Dan, however, I remember feeling as if all those things came true and then more. I felt like I’d known him forever and we were predestined and everything.

Then time passed, and some of those pretty scales fell away. More and more all the time. I still can’t say who put them there–me, Dan, both of us, some divine relationship fairy–all I knew was that events would happen, good and bad, and I would see less of the man I’d imagined and more of the man I had. I loved him too. Sometimes I had to learn that love, because sometimes the true human beneath the ideal was a little rough. Sometimes it was thrilling to know only I could see that part of him, that this was a gift only a life partner could get. But sometimes those moments hit me when my own scales were falling away, and it was hard.

Dan and I have faced all manner of challenges in seventeen years, and the thing I’ve learned and re-learned is that the crises, the scale-falling moments are the ones where you weave a new rung in that DNA ladder of your relationship. At first it was the loss of ideals, then it was the challenge of adding a child, and now it is age. Gray hair. Weight gain. Health problems. Scales neither of us had thought much about, things that startle us and make us actively try to cut each other off. Because sometimes the wrenches life throws at us hit our heads, and they hurt. Sometimes we can’t even trust a partner of seventeen years to love us when this many scales fall away, because we’re realizing more and more each day underneath those glittering defenses we are tired, wrinkled, and unloveable.

This is the magic of seventeen: after this much time, after so much practice at the weaving of this relationship, now we reach out and draw each other back. Health problems render us feeling fat and gross and crazy? Come here, sweetheart. No, you don’t get to push me away. Don’t want me to touch you right now? That’s okay. I’ll sit right here and love you all the same. You seem like you could use a massage. How about you make a date with your friend? Why don’t you go buy a book or a record? Here, I got this cookie for you.

My job is to write love stories, of people falling in love. That first rush, those bubbling endorphins, that initial connection. And I do love that moment, never get tired of writing it. I enjoyed living it in my youth, of having that moment with Dan. I still fall in love with friends, still chase that new-relationship smell.

But after seventeen years of caretaking this relationship with my spouse, of peeling away layers and discovering disappointments and joys and strange new worlds, of quiet pleasures and crazy capers–nothing compares. I have someone who thinks I’m beautiful when I’m sweaty and stinky in a bathrobe. Who actually likes it when I get bitchy and ranty, I think even a little when it’s aimed at him. Who is patient when I am moody or weird. Who never turns down a hug or a snuggle. Someone who I want to see more than anyone else, someone who is home.

Seventeen years ago today I was putting on a frilly dress and getting ready to walk down an aisle. We have this silly idea when we get married that the walk down a row of chairs or benches is the real journey–certainly we’re the best dressed for that part. But I am still walking down that path. Just Dan and I for the most part now, and sometimes we’re not as great with the upkeep of the sidewalk as we should be. Except I would walk with this man over hot coals. Anywhere, everywhere, so long as the path doesn’t end.

I love you, Daniel Scott Cullinan. Thanks for seventeen great years. I want seventeen-and-seventy more.

wedding1 copy

Piles and Piles of Books: The Library Contest is Ready to Ship!

I’ve been waiting a month to do this post. Seriously. SO. EXCITED.

For my birthday this year, I curated a contest for libraries, and I invited authors to donate books in addition to the ones I was donating. But then I realized there were only ten libraries who entered, and I couldn’t pick just five. I put out a plea for more donations, and people responded like crazyreaders especially. I would say a good 75% of the donations are from readers alone. Here’s a list of who donated: authors, publishers, and readers. (And if in the chaos I missed you, please let me know, and I’ll add you!)

Here’s what they donated.

IMG_2967

Impressive, yes? Here’s how it looks divvied up.

Read More

Fever Pitch is Available Now

Fever Pitch Tour Banner_edited-1

Fever Pitch cover Heidi Cullinan

FEVER PITCH

AVAILABLE NOW from Samhain Publishing

Book Two of the Love Lessons Series

Sometimes you have to play love by ear.
Aaron Seavers is a pathetic mess, and he knows it. He lives in terror of incurring his father’s wrath and disappointing his mother, and he can’t stop dithering about where to go to college—with fall term only weeks away. Ditched by a friend at a miserable summer farewell party, all he can do is get drunk in the laundry room and regret he was ever born. Until a geeky-cute classmate lifts his spirits, leaving him confident of two things: his sexual orientation, and where he’s headed to school.

Giles Mulder can’t wait to get the hell out of Oak Grove, Minnesota, and off to college, where he plans to play his violin and figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. But when Aaron appears on campus, memories of hometown hazing threaten what he’d hoped would be his haven. As the semester wears on, their attraction crescendos from double-cautious to a rich, swelling chord. But if more than one set of controlling parents have their way, the music of their love could come to a shattering end.

Warning: Contains showmances, bad parenting, Walter Lucas, and a cappella.

All Romance Ebooks • Amazon • Amazon UK • Barnes & Noble • Kobo • Google Play • iTunes •

Goodreads • Excerpt

Book Page on Website • Book Page for Love Lessons (book one in the series)


 

Samhain’s Bookstore is down and will relaunch October 1. Samhain’s 30% off new release sale will extend by one week for this title. If you preordered Fever Pitch from Samhain and want it today, email  customerservice@samhainpublishing.com to have your ebook mailed directly to you. Otherwise, it will deliver as soon as the store is live again.

How to get your Samhain preorder for Fever Pitch tomorrow from the Samhain Store

If you placed a pre-order for Fever Pitch and really want the book tomorrow, email  customerservice@samhainpublishing.com and ask to have it hand delivered. Tell them your pre-order number if you have it, and tell them the format, though they likely have that available. If you’re not in a hurry, it should arrive on your device Wednesday, and regular purchases will be up then too.

Fever Pitch will be on sale an extra week because of the store changeover, so if you’re on the fence, you have an extra week to get the biggest savings.

If you placed a pre-order and REALLY REALLY had your heart set on reading when it downloaded at midnight, email me at heidi@heidicullinan.com and say HELP ME WALTER, tell me your preorder number and format, and we’ll talk.

Otherwise, the book is out tomorrow and all third party sites will proceed as usual.

getting in

 

FEVER PITCH

Coming September 30 from Samhain Publishing

Book Two of the Love Lessons Series
Sometimes you have to play love by ear.
Aaron Seavers is a pathetic mess, and he knows it. He lives in terror of incurring his father’s wrath and disappointing his mother, and he can’t stop dithering about where to go to college—with fall term only weeks away. Ditched by a friend at a miserable summer farewell party, all he can do is get drunk in the laundry room and regret he was ever born. Until a geeky-cute classmate lifts his spirits, leaving him confident of two things: his sexual orientation, and where he’s headed to school.

Giles Mulder can’t wait to get the hell out of Oak Grove, Minnesota, and off to college, where he plans to play his violin and figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. But when Aaron appears on campus, memories of hometown hazing threaten what he’d hoped would be his haven. As the semester wears on, their attraction crescendos from double-cautious to a rich, swelling chord. But if more than one set of controlling parents have their way, the music of their love could come to a shattering end.

Warning: Contains showmances, bad parenting, Walter Lucas, and a cappella.

Win Fever Pitch Early!

Fever Pitch Tour Banner_edited-1

I’m giving Fever Pitch ebooks away TONIGHT to TWO lucky winners!

To enter, go to this link (I can’t embed Rafflecopter, le sigh) and enter as many times as the system will let you. Tonight I’ll pick the two winners, email you your prize, and you’ll be reading before your friends are.

Stop reading this post, and go enter already!

#IndieFirst: Join Our Ames Event

via firehouse.org

On November 29, 2014, at Firehouse Books in Ames, Iowa, I’ll be hosting an #IndieFirst Author and Indie Bookseller Event.

This is all Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer’s fault, though I’ve been meaning to do a local event in central Iowa for some time. Right now all I know is that it’s being held at Firehouse Books in Ames, Iowa, on November 29. I’m assuming afternoon but honestly I’m not even that far into firm details. I will be there, and a lot of people are interested, but largely everything is still unfolding.

Did you read this and get very excited because you really, really want to come, either as a reader or an author*, or simply a local supporter? Fantastic. Fill out this form, an interest survey that will help me better plan and define the event. Also consider joining this mailing list, which will keep you up to date as details emerge. That list won’t be shared with any authors, or the bookstore, and you won’t be added to my author mailing list either. (This means, too, if you’re on MY mailing list, you need to join this one also to get information on the event.)

I’ll eventually put info on this blog and on flyers around town too, when I have more details. In the meantime, sign up for more news, fill out the inquiry form, and we’ll get this party started.

 

*I’m taking ALL interested inquiries for attending authors, but I’m leaving the final decision up to the bookstore owner, both in number and attendees. I can’t promise anyone a spot. This is a used bookstore also selling new releases, which means there are a lot of ordering and selling options. I’m especially interested in Iowa and very local authors at least stopping by, even if you only have ebook flats to share. This event is about showcasing independent booksellers, and hopefully we can toss a bit of money at a local charity as well.

A Special Message From Walter Lucas About Preorders for Fever Pitch at Samhain’s Store.

Walter fierce

Hey. Walter Lucas here, passing on a special message for anyone who has already put in a preorder for Fever Pitch on samhainpublishing.com. The rest of you can listen too, but Samhain Store loyalists? This song is for you.

Here’s what’s happening. Samhain Publishing is moving to a bigger, better website where they can serve you better. I know that’s a line everybody says when they hang up the “pardon our progress” sign, but the goal truly is to make your shopping experience better. Samhain knows a lot of you love shopping there, and they want to make you love it more, and bring your friends.

Unfortunately, to do this at some point the site has to go down. Web stuff isn’t easy, ever, and when you have a complicated shopping cart feature, it’s important to get it right. As you can see, right now, the Samhain Store is down. It went ahead of schedule, which could be great news for Fever Pitch preorders, because everything might be switched over in time for your automatic downloads. Because I know how some of you roll. You stay up until midnight waiting for that file. And then you’re all over social media in the morning complaining how you were up until 4AM and you still didn’t finish. Except you love to do that. I know. I’ve got your numbers.

Samhain Coming Soon 2011The problem is there’s no way to know right now if the site will be up on September 30 or not. Or September 29 at 11PM, when those preorders normally start rolling out. I hate to say it, but it’s entirely possible you might have preordered only to find the site still down on release day.

No worries. I’ve got your back, baby.

Here’s what you do. If you preordered, say a little prayer to Saint Timothy or light a candle or toss a penny in a fountain and hope it all goes through early and there’s no problem at all. If it’s Monday afternoon and it’s still dark in your happy storefront, email Samhain customer service:  customerservice@samhainpublishing.com. Tell them you have a preorder, and they can look you up and then set you up. It might be Tuesday morning before you get it–at a more reasonable office hour than midnight–but you’ll get it. Hand-delivered to you, via email. Electronic hands, I suppose. In any event, Jacob’s my man. He’ll take care of you.

ETA: Samhain has confirmed if the site is still down on Monday, you won’t just get hand delivery, you’ll get it early, on Monday. I’ll totally be in touch about that. Watch this space.

But if things do get snarled, if you do end up one those midnight lurkers and you couldn’t have your late night fix, if you had to wait and you were disappointed, here’s what you do. You email assist@heidicullinan.com with the subject line “Dear Walter” and you tell me all about how bummed you are. Heidi’s Helpers will forward it to me, and I will personally answer you and offer you my condolences and some naughty links, if you request them. It’s not a book at midnight, but it is something the third party people don’t get.

Hopefully this is all much ado about nothing, but if not, now you have your info. Get ready for Fever Pitch, guys. Yes, I’m in it, but there are plenty of other boys and girls to steal your hearts. Plus, I get married. You don’t want to miss that, do you?


Fever Pitch cover Heidi Cullinan

FEVER PITCH

Coming September 30 from Samhain Publishing

Book Two of the Love Lessons Series
Sometimes you have to play love by ear.
Aaron Seavers is a pathetic mess, and he knows it. He lives in terror of incurring his father’s wrath and disappointing his mother, and he can’t stop dithering about where to go to college—with fall term only weeks away. Ditched by a friend at a miserable summer farewell party, all he can do is get drunk in the laundry room and regret he was ever born. Until a geeky-cute classmate lifts his spirits, leaving him confident of two things: his sexual orientation, and where he’s headed to school.

Giles Mulder can’t wait to get the hell out of Oak Grove, Minnesota, and off to college, where he plans to play his violin and figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. But when Aaron appears on campus, memories of hometown hazing threaten what he’d hoped would be his haven. As the semester wears on, their attraction crescendos from double-cautious to a rich, swelling chord. But if more than one set of controlling parents have their way, the music of their love could come to a shattering end.

Warning: Contains showmances, bad parenting, Walter Lucas, and a cappella.

How to Appropriate by Not Really Trying: An Author’s Guide to Writing Socially Marginalized Communities in Romance

appropriation

I hate to start a post with a dictionary definition, but this topic needs every card laid out on the table. Let’s begin with the beginning. Appropriation is the act of using something that doesn’t belong to you as if it does.

Authors do this hourly. It’s practically our job: we’re professional pretenders. In my published career alone, I’ve appropriated more than I have time to list, but let’s tick off a few. Long-distance truck drivers. Pawn shop owners. Ballet dancers. Football players. Poker players. Italians.

Drag queens. Practitioners of BDSM. Persons with OCD and autism. Transgender women. Gay men.

Some of these things are not like the other. If a poker player reads Double Blind and feels I got something wrong, their personal injury goes no deeper than annoyance, possibly with a side order of irritation. The same goes for the truck drivers and football players and Italian families. None of these groups currently experience deep prejudice. If I screw up when I borrow them for my work, the egg is on my face alone, and they have every right to call me on it. They will do this from a position of if not privilege, at least a confidence in their semi-comfortable place in our common culture.

If I misrepresent the groups italicized above, matters change quickly. Every group listed have been significantly marginalized by the societies in which they exist, and by simply declaring themselves part of that community, the members experience prejudice, social stigma, and often outright abuse. If I screw up when writing about these groups, not only do I have egg on my face, I contribute further harm and insult to persons already bearing a full plate of social struggle. If they simply hear about it happening, that’s bad enough. But if they purchase my book to see themselves represented in a positive way, and I slap them in the face? That’s bad. That’s very, very bad.

Twitter is the world’s largest receptacle of appropriated persons crying into the wind. I’ve seen Indian-Americans despairing over the appropriation of namaste—I have to admit, it hadn’t occurred to me until they pointed out that namaste, bitches is horribly offensive and appropriating to Hindu culture, but I wince now every time I see a bumper sticker or shirt or whatever else some idiot wants to slap that on. I’ve seen readers who have epilepsy furious over poor research in a novel, where their condition is used as character color and science is discarded because it’s easier if meds and epilepsy worked a different way. (Point of order: I just looked up epilepsy as I typed this, unsure if I should call it a disease or not, and I edited out illness as a synonym too. This took me less than two minutes of Googlefu.)

This morning I was the frustrated person on twitter. Someone rec’d a gay romance, and I was all psyched because I’m always looking for a good book and this person never fails me–and then I read the blurb.

…hiding his sexual preference from everyone…

*record scratch*

One of two things just happened. Either you read that little snippet and winced, hissed through your teeth, or were pissed, or you don’t know what I’m talking about. For those of you in column A, bear with me. Column B, come with me.

This is a link to GLAAD’s Media Reference Guide. Revisit it often, because stuff changes and gets added. Germane to our discussion at hand is paragraph three, which I will paste here:

Offensive: “sexual preference”
Preferred: “sexual orientation” or “orientation.” The term “sexual preference” is typically used to suggest that being lesbian, gay or bisexual is a choice and therefore can and should be “cured.” Sexual orientation is the accurate description of an individual’s enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction to members of the same and/or opposite sex and is inclusive of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, as well as straight men and women (see AP & New York Times Style).

When I objected to this on Twitter, it was suggested preference was okay because the character in question was deeply closeted. Actually, that makes me much more nervous. One, that term has zero place in a public blurb. If the character uses that term to describe himself within the story, that’s potentially permissible, but only if he is corrected and his schooling of appropriate terminology is part of the plot. The blurb is a no-go. Because what that ONE WORD did in that blurb was take me from a well-known author of gay romance possibly reading and rec’ing that book to writing a two-thousand word blog post on why that book is probably a very bad idea. That one word tells me the author hasn’t so much as glanced at the GLAAD media reference guide, let alone done any training. That the author is usually an author of heterosexual romance makes me further put on the brakes, because now I’m worried that word was a flag hiding deeper appropriation. That might not be the case—this author might be a huge ally who has done all sorts of research and that word was simply a fart. Unfortunately, all I have is that blurb and that word, and I’m not just failing to bite. I’m running and shunning, and I would actively discourage that book if asked what I thought. Based on one very unnecessary and poorly-chosen word.

I don’t hold the blogger who rec’d the book responsible for knowing this, as she’s a reader, and she’s supposed to be able to read good books and enjoy them. Apparently the book itself is great, and I’m sorry I’m having to pass. The faux-pas is utterly on the author, and it is a faux-pas, and it should be corrected. She should talk to her publisher TODAY about getting the blurb changed TODAY up to and including the backs of print books. She’d do well to submit the book to someone in the gay romance community and say, “Would you read this and make sure that’s the only terminology/community mistake I made? I really want to get this right.” For the record, I would make time to do that reading and would be honest and patient in any education attempts. But honestly, there are a lot of qualified and willing people on the ground. While it’s not the job of the appropriated to help authors avoid missteps, in addition to being generally open to education efforts, marginalized groups often publish media guides and leave easily Google-able clues as to how they’d like to be addressed and dealt with.

Unfortunately, I meant well is not a defense when appropriation goes wrong. I’m sorry is the lead, immediate correction is the next step, and contrition is the path forward. If you’re writing about any group who experiences prejudice, get your ducks in a row and your Google on. The problem is even getting a doctoral thesis in the appropriated community can’t stop some mistakes. I have made mistakes in appropriation. Even being a member of the appropriated community can lead to argument about how the group should be represented–but when we are tourists, we must always, always proceed with respect and prepare to defer, especially when representing them in fiction.

I am a woman. When I write gay men, I am appropriating. There’s no if, and, or but about it. I’m not a gay man. I’ve researched all day long, I mind my Ps and Qs, I have put in months worth of volunteer hours for LGBT causes and have donated to them for a decade, but I do not have a penis and desire romantic relations with men, ergo, I am not a gay man.ETA: It was pointed out to me one can in fact, be a gay man without a penis. Sorry for my screwup, and thanks for correcting me, Heidi Belleau. See how easy it is to screw up? See how easy it is to correct and apologize?

As an author of gay romance, is my job to be careful and smart, and when I screw up, it’s on me to apologize and correct. I’m quite sure there are gay men who regard me warily, seeing my bio at face value—woman married to man—writing their stories. That’s fine–that’s my work to win them, or to allow them to decline. When I pitch/sell gay romance as a type of romance to women, regardless of their orientation, I am careful about how I speak. When I am interviewed by the media, I cram for hours in advance and if it’s radio, I take notes. Every time I write a gay character, every time I open my mouth or type words about gay romance, I carry the weight of men who have been abused physically and mentally over not only generations but centuries. I forget that at my peril, and at the expense of their experience.

This seems so easy, so basic—do your research. And honestly, that’s the only sin in the blurb mentioned above. Except there’s another elephant in the room when talking about women writing gay men, appropriating gay men, and this discussion isn’t complete without bringing it up: women are fighting their own appropriation. Women are marginalized too.

#GamerGate and #WomenAgainstFeminism are exhibits A and B, see also Gamora’s exclusion from Guardian’s of the Galaxy merchandise aimed at little boys. See basically all of western culture. Writing romance novels of any orientation is a feminist act, because every one is a middle finger at the male-centric idea of romance being silly and stupid and lesser. Men in romance novels fall in love too, profess devotion, and do all kinds of things they’re not allowed to do as freely in our messed up culture. In lesbian romances, the men are secondary characters not required for love and romance.

In gay romances, however, several things are going on. On the one hand, we have beautiful accurate representations of masculinity, of strength and vulnerability. We have gay men with agency. But, particularly when straight women write gay men, or men having sex with men, there is great potential for a subversion element, the seizing of power from men. Because gay men are still men, and men still have the lion’s share of the power in our culture.

It is easy to use man having sex with a man as not a representation of gay men but as a weapon against the oppressor. Subverting the idealized, monstrous, impossible yet socially dominating straight male ideal is a heady rush, and in heterosexual romance, I have to say, knock yourself out. But the second that monstrous man wanders over the line into gay man, everything changes. Gay men know the monstrous hell of that oppression in a different way than women, but they know it. Women wouldn’t like being subverted in gay male-authored novels any more than gay men appreciate it in the novels of women. In fact, even when women write gay romances, the women in the secondary roles are closely scrutinized for misogyny by male and female readers in the community. Some female readers of gay romance will say they only read gay romances because they have been so upset by the portrayal of women in popular literature and culture, including straight romance, that they would prefer to only read men falling in love with men. There’s a lot of work there to be done in romance, to help those women stop feeling so ostracized by their own gender. But absolutely that work isn’t done by subverting the male archetype via gay men without thought or care. In fact, that will only make things worse.

The bitter pill in all this is I want, very much so, for authors of heterosexual romance to include LGBT characters, primary or secondary, in romance. But it’s well-past time we started talking about appropriation, not just in LGBT but in everything. Write outside the lines of your experience, but do your research and your homework. For LGBT romance, it’s a lot more than a few episodes of porn and a YouTube coming out video. It’s reading gay history and volunteering at youth shelters and looking in the faces of girls and boys kicked out of their homes because they dared to declare who they wanted to love. If you want to understand why preference is an insult, that’s an excellent place to start.

But this applies to everything. Any culture or group of persons whose experience does not belong to you—do your research. When you get it wrong, correct, apologize, and learn. Because there really is something worse than having no voice at all. It’s someone using your voice to insult you.

Knowing they’re making a profit from it is a cruel kick in the teeth.

Fever Pitch Grand Prize Raffle

Fever Pitch Grand Prize image

Follow this link to enter this Rafflecopter giveaway, find it on my main website, or look for it on the main Fever Pitch Blog Tour.

This contest starts Monday, September 15 at midnight CST and ends October 13 at 10AM CST.  What prizes are available for the Grand Prize Raffle? THREE, for three different winners.

RC image one_edited-1

Prize one:

  • Win an electronic copy of Fever Pitch for you, or for a friend
  • Receive by mail a signed paperback of book one in the series, Love Lessons
  • Choose between a $10 iTunes gift card or one month of premium Spotify membership to enjoy the a cappella music you read about in Fever Pitch
  • Select an item of your choice from the Heidi Cullinan Saint Timothy Swag Store (Items still building, especially quote mugs)

RC LL series prize

Prize two:

  • Win an electronic copy of Love Lessons and Fever Pitch for you or for a friend
  • Pick or design a Love Lessons series quote mug from the Saint Timothy store (if the quote you love isn’t there, tell Heidi and she’ll design a mug just for you!)
  • Pick another established item from the Saint Timothy store, anything goes! (More products added all the time.)

RC blog prize_edited-1

Prize three:

  • Win an electron copy of Fever Pitch (for you or for a friend
  • Tell Heidi who your favorite character from the Love Lessons series is, and they’ll write a public blog post personalized to you!

There are eight different ways to enter, and some you can do more than once. This is my first Rafflecopter experience, so hopefully it all goes well. (I’m really not sure about the Pinterest images, but I’m going on faith that they’ll post okay.)

If you enjoy Fever Pitch and want to share the love on your blog or social media site, there are a number of quote images here. I never want readers to feel like selling my books is their job, but your word of mouth is absolutely the best advertising on the planet. I will never say no to your help!

Good luck to everyone!

May Walter be ever in your favor.

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