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#RTF2017 Hangover

I’ve been to a few writer cons in the past four years. I’ve had good experiences and bad experiences, but let me tell you, deciding to attend Romancing the Falls 2017 (RTF2017) was one of the best writing decisions I’ve made in a long time. Sometimes you attend a convention and because you’re not NYT Bestseller so and so people don’t talk to you. Readers avoid you and other authors treat you like the you have the plague.

Let me break down RTF2017 like this.

Freya Barker

I met this goddess a few years ago at the first Romancing the Capital. I was new to cons, my first foray into the unknown and I was TERRIFIED. I guess I wasn’t very good at hiding it because she saw it instantly. I remember her saying to me “don’t worry so much. It’s not that serious. You got this.” Then she gave me one of the biggest hugs ever. And to think she didn’t know me. I think the only reason she knew I was one of the authors was that I was wearing the name tag that said “Kendra Mei Chailyn: Author” on it. When I tried getting into RTF2017 as a signing author, it was full. I made it into the con via the waiting list. But I didn’t mind. I waited and the day Freya send me the message that someone had to drop out and I would be getting her spot, my heart got back into that knot–the same one I had that first day I was standing outside the Holiday Inn in Kanata wondering “why am I even here?”

From that first message, Freya showed me kindness and understanding all the way through to the very end of the con. She checked in with me, made sure I was okay, made sure I was set up, made sure I wasn’t freaking out. And the hugs–yeah well, the hugs were everything!

RTF2017 Volunteers

Honestly, these people were some of the best. They were busy as bees from helping us set up our tables, to carrying things into the hall, to ensuring we had everything. During the signing (That was about five hours long) many of us didn’t get a chance to get up and move around. These volunteers were our mouths, eyes and ears and errand persons throughout the whole thing. They ensured we were fed, hydrated and that we were having the best time. They worked tirelessly to take care of us the writers and our readers and for that, I cannot be more thankful to them.

The Marriott (The location/accommodation)

The hotel was beautiful. The best part of my room were my bed and my shower. There were a few hiccups with our bathroom doors and the elevators but those were minor compared to everything else. The rooms were clean, the sheets pristine. I had a lovely time. The elevators–well, there were a lot of people going in and out of the place, up and down constantly. The wait times for the lifts were unusual but we made do.

The Authors

I cannot remember being in a place with so many authors and not feeling as if I didn’t belong. At RTF2017 authors were coming up to me for hugs and pictures. Most of whom I had no idea who they were. They were people I spoke to on facebook and a few of them I had never interacted with. Random authors helped me set up my banner, others shared carts with us (since our hotel seemed to only had like four of them), the male authors helped my friend Allison and I lift boxes into her van, their husbands helped us lift boxes off carts. Hell, I was standing at one point, I guess I was looking a little overwhelmed and the fantastic JC Hannigan stopped to give me a hug and a verbal self esteem boost.

Rosanna Leo checked in on me just to give me a big hug (And it wasn’t until I got home that I realized – crap! We didn’t take a pic together – Next time for sure). I met the incredible AW Clarke who had Allison Cosgrove and I cracking up the whole way home. The downside about this is we didn’t get AW on the dance floor – hrm…oh well, next time.

Let me tell you, there are so many wonderful interactions I had at this thing, I don’t think we have all day to talk about them all.

Allison Cosgrove

This lady–this lady was responsible for me getting to Niagara Falls and home again. A few times I came so close to just giving up and walking away from this whole convention, but she was always there with a kick in the pants or a virtual hugs. She ventured into Toronto to pick up my books and bags. She asked to be seated close to me so she could ensure I was okay. She held my hand through this whole thing because I was coming off a really bad experience and I was a little gunshy. She helped me out of my shell at RTF2017 – helped me be more social, suffered with me in stilettos, gave me the strength to do Karaoke (Thought Christine had to save me through Say A Little Prayer, the reggae version from My Best Friend’s Wedding)…The whole experience was a million times better because of this lady and I am SO grateful and humbled and proud and over the moon by her.

The Readers

From all over the world – our readers descended on Niagara Falls. They showed up, showed us support, some even bringing us goodies. It never ceases to amaze me at the depth of the love these ladies and gents show us. Sometimes I think all we do is pot words on a page and sometimes I find myself wondering if it is all worth it. When I see our readers at cons, asking me to sign things, to take a picture or fresh faces asking about my work and interested in getting to know little, ole me, it makes my heart swell. Sometimes I cry with happiness and in those moments I am reminded not to take it all for granted and to enjoy every moment. So to you who make us who we are, who make us feel like rock stars, from the bottom of my heart – I thank you.

Christine, AK, Shannon, Sue

These ladies–these ladies you want on your team when you’re terrified and an introvert and desperately trying to grow. From long conversations to breaking it down on the dance floor, from screwing up Diana King on stage to testing out new dessert and musing over the risotto, from having a small break down about the next con to trying to find yourself – these ladies were there before, during and after it all.

Chef Becca

On our way back from Niagara Falls, Allison and I took a detour. Our GPS went gangsta and brought us to somewhere in the middle of God’s nowhere but we managed to find Becca at work. We talked, she fed us (Delicious lobster mac and cheese *Drool*) and then we gifted her with swag and books because she missed the con because she had to work. She was so happy to see us, it was worth being punk’d by our GPS just to get to her.  If you guys knew the story of what had happened just a couple of weeks before the con, you’d understand why this trip was a little difficult for me to make at first. But Becca is one cool chick.

There’s so much more I’d like to talk about–but this post would be massively long.  But RTF2017 was a major success. I’ve reconnected with people I haven’t seen in a year. I met new and exciting readers and fellow authors and bloggers. I’ve connected names to facebook names – I hugged, laughed, danced, eaten, talked to strangers in the elevator. In this one weekend, I feel a renewed energy I never thought would ever be possible. And for that, I thank all who made this weekend so spectacular and I send to you my love and many, many hugs.

And now – back to reality and our regular schedule programming.

Hugs as always,

Kato

**PS: You may have noticed I didn’t use any pictures in this post. This is because as you may know or have guessed, quite a few authors use pen names – If they wish to share their photos, I am sure they will but I will respect their privacy at this moment.**

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Suicide

Hi everyone,

For those of you who are personal involved with me, you know I am a big supporter of helping those who suffer from a mental illness or contemplating suicide that sort of thing. I read this article where it seems the newest trend among teenager is suicide by cop. Now, for those who have no idea what that mean, let me try and explain it as best I can. Suicide by cop is when someone points a gun at a police officer, ignore all warnings to drop the weapon and the cops are then forced to shoot the person.  So far, there have been two cases that I’ve read about–one in San Diego and one in L.A. Both these teenagers left suicide notes.

Now, I hear people asking “why did they have to kill the kid?” “Couldn’t they shoot the kid in the leg or the arm?” ” Can’t the cops tell a fake fun from a real one?”

These are all valid questions. I don’t know the answers to two of these but the last one about the fake vs real guns, I can speak from experience. One year, I wanted to dress as a police officer for Halloween and I set about putting together the pieces I needed. I went into a costume store and began browsing the weapons section. Trust me, these guns look real. It isn’t until you pick them up (some of them) that you realize they are indeed fake. So, sometimes it is impossible to tell if a gun is real or fake.

As for the other two questions, I don’t know the answers but I’m going to hazard a guess. When it comes to police officers and people pointing guns at them, cops are going to take the person out so that said person cannot recover and shoot at them in that situation. And while I’m a big supporter of protecting our children, you have a gun pointing at police officer. In one of these scenarios, after the cops demanded he drop the gun, not only did he point it at them, he began advancing on the cops.

Others are saying it wouldn’t be a big deal if the cops got shot because they are wearing Kevlar – this does not protect an officer from a shot to the head or neck and in some cases the abdomen. I’m not doctor but even I can tell you there is no coming back from a bullet to any of these places.

Over the past few years, the relationship between civilians and police officers in the United States had deteriorated. I don’t have to tell anyone that–it’s all over the news. Cops doesn’t trust civilians and vice versa. The relationship visible minorities and the police even worse. Now, this article did not state what race these boys were so it is safe to assume they aren’t from a visible minority.

But this article isn’t about race or even the stagnant relationship between people and law. This is about our children losing hope so much so that they chose to end their lives.

As parents (I’m going to say we even though I’m not a parent yet) we need to start talking to our children. We need to raise our children with the idea that yes, we are your parents. Yes, if you act up we will shut that down but if you’re in trouble, if you feel at all like life is being one big pile of suckage, you can talk to us and we won’t judge. I can only speak from my background.

I am Jamaican. And after university I fell into a MAJOR depression. When I went to those who should help, I was promptly told that I wasn’t depressed. That there was nothing wrong with me and I should find something to do. Keep in mind, at the time I was working two dead end jobs, writing full time and desperately trying to build a social life – but apparently I wasn’t doing enough. I had to struggle, with the help of a few close friends, my niece and a few rather expensive therapy sessions (because my doctor refused to refer me to a therapist to make it be covered by OHIP). Thankfully, I still have days where I don’t want to get out of bed but now I know how to manage and I have those I can run to.

I am from a culture that for the most part doesn’t believe in mental illness. Hell, some people from my culture still believe if someone dies suddenly that someone obeyah them (voodoo curse) or duppy lick dem – they were struck by a ghost. So most times, getting help from anyone in this culture is next to impossible.

Our kids aren’t perfect. They are flawed just like we are and with the rising issues in the world, we have to be a little bit more open and tolerant of each other. We have to teach our children that it’s okay to not be okay. That when they are having those days when all they want to do is die, all they have to do is seek you out. If you don’t know who to turn to, there is the Kid’s Help Phone. I’m pretty sure if you’re in the US and call them and say “I’m from Boise and I’m thinking of ending it all” they aren’t going to say “We can’t help you.” They WILL help you.

If your child comes to you and asks for help, if you don’t know who to help them, you can google resources in your area. There are TONS of websites telling you where to go and who to talk to. If you can’t do that walk into a police station, fire department, hospital, medical clinic,  and explain the situation to them and ask what to do. These are trained professional. They are there to render assistance so you and your family can be happy and healthy.

Please–we need to find a way to stop this rash of suicides amongst children. It seem every day I read the news there is another one.

Here are some resources:

For Canadains:

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 – Please keep in mind this line is also LGBT friendly.

Right By You

The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: This is not a crisis center but if you need educational materials including where to get help, how to coop with a loss due to suicide etc

Ontario Association for Suicide Prevention: This is not a crisis center but they can help you out with info, resources etc. And if you click on their link to Crisis Support there are a few places that can help.

Now these are just a few places. There are others.

For Americans: (Keep in mind that I am Canadian and I am not familiar with any of these – if you have any others you’d like me to add, please let me know in the comment section below)

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention:

Suicide Hotlines:  This seems to be a list of hotlines by states including Hawaii

The World

Your life counts: This site has a list of crisis lines around the world. There seem to be a few countries missing from the list but it is a start.

Hugs everyone, and please be safe.

Kato

I’m Still Here – Update

Hi world!

I know – I’ve been MIA for a while and it’s not because anything bad happened. I’ve just been bogged down with adulating so hard. Okay, check this out – So I have THREE Signings this year. So, after battling a kick ass case of writer’s block, I was doing the day job and writing full time.  I went through a complete rebranding with my writing. The website has always been changed. Though there is a link from the old site to the new one, you can simply click here to check it out.  I actually change the website twice in the space of a couple of months to get it to look smexy! Please, give it a look and tell me what you think!

Cover art by Boundless Tales Design

Onward to my signings. The first will be in Niagara Falls – Romancing the Falls! It’s my first time signing at this convention but I am nervous and excited about it. My second signing is on a smaller scale in Victoria, British Columbia that I’ve dubbed #Rocksteady! I am WAY over the moon about this one. This will be the first time I have my own, personal signing. I tell you, I have some AMAZING friends in my life. My gurl Amanda hooked me up and it’s going to be amazing!

 

The third signing will be in Ottawa at Romancing the Capital! Yes, I have been to this one and I am REALLY looking forward to signing again this year!

At the moment, I have two brand new novels getting ready to hit the market – The first is Someone Like You and it’s an interracial story and the first in my plus size female heroine under the new branding. The second is Rock Me Tonight , interracial, plus size female. And a third which I decided not to tackle in self publishing, To Catch a Falling StarI’m super excited for you guys to get your hands on these stories.

Someone Like You is a lot spicier than I write regularly. I wanted to add a little bit of a kick to these stories. No, I’m not leaving romance writing permanently, I’ve intertwined my love of romance with my urge for a little smexy to see what would happen.  The story is now waiting for Amazon to approve it for Kindle but it is available for Print if you click here!

Here is the blurb:

Fashion mogul Kiani Concord’s life just fell into darkness. In one night, she loses her sister and her brother-in-law.   But she has no time to grieve, because she finds out she is to be the legal guardian of her 16 year old nephew.

What? Is this a joke?​

Buckling down, she does what any responsible sister would, gives up her luxury condo, put her life on hold then moves into her sister’s house to raise a teenager. Getting through the funeral and other arrangements is tough enough; Kiani can only imagine what the next few years would be like. After the first fight with her nephew, she runs to her favorite diner and bumps head first into Jack Trudelle.​

Songwriter and Widower Jack Trudelle have been off the market since his wife’s death. But, he is beginning to believe his sister-in-law and daughter that it is time to get back on the horse. When he meets the beautiful and curvy Kiani Concord, he knows there is something special about her.

Now, if only she would stop running and face the passion he wants to give her…

Rock Me Tonight is a bit of a reader request kind of story. For the signing in Victoria BC I was asked to write something super sexy and super romantic. When I saw the cover on Taria Reed Designs, I took one look at it and sent her an email. It is VERY rare to find a

Cover by Taria Reed Designs

pre-made cover, this caliber with a plus size AA female. I had to jump on it. I didn’t eve have a story planned. That night, once the cover was in my inbox, I silently freaked out. What if I couldn’t come up with a story? What if I came up with a story and my Muse decided to disappear on me again? Yes, I was silently freaking out but then Sadie and Bas smacked me at the back of the head and their story was born! Yes, this too is SUPER sexy.

 

Here is the blurb:

Sadie Watson has looked for love in all the wrong places. After her last disaster, she is done-over it all. To mourn the death of her latest relationship, Sadie dipped into her trust fund, and takes off to Toronto for a much needed break from small town Canada. On this trip, all Sadie wants is to be left alone. But when she meets Bas Logan, she’s reminded that no good deed goes unpunished.

​Bas Logan, lead singer and guitarist of the band Potion, is rock and roll royalty. He likes his women leggy, blond and size two. When he meets Sadie, she  matched none of his conquest criteria so when he is attracted to her desperately, he cannot understand it. But when he shows Sadie a little attention, not only does she have no idea who he is, she flat out blows him off.  Further confused by this, Bas is determined to find out what it is she doesn’t like about him. But this could be a bad idea or by the time Bas realizes what is happening, it could be too late.

So those are the two I have pretty much ready to go. I am also hard at work now on a Thriller titled Barrister. Yes, this is a complete deviation from my romance/erotica roots but I thought I’d spread my wings a little. The character was speaking to me and because

Cover Art by The Book Cover Machine

I couldn’t possibly put him in one of my other books because of how deliciously dark and twisted he came to me, I figured he deserved his own book.

 

I am sitting on the blurb for Barrister because I am unsure of how to word it but for now, here’s the teaser I’ve been using:

When the fates write your destiny – you can fight it, or you can accept….

One more thing – I’ve been hard at work trying to get into the Kindle Worlds. So far, I have one short story complete titled Miracle and the Beast. I wanted to do something a little different than SEALs or MARINES or GREEN BERET so I’ve chosen to use Germany’s GSG 9. They are like SWAT meets Army Rangers kind of badassedness. The tale is now in the hands of my amazing editor. I am currently sitting on the cover art for this one, waiting until I’ve had it submitted to the Special Forces kindle world.

As you can see, I’ve had my hands full. Preparing for my May 20th convention has been a trial in itself. From thinking of swag, to finding what I want to make my swag to actually getting around to ordering and making said swag, to fighting with Amazon to get what I need and finding a printer willing to do it with a short turn around – *faints* it has been a hectic few weeks.

If you don’t have plans for the May long weekend, please visit us in Niagara Falls at the Marriott on the falls for over 50 amazing authors. There shall be swag and fun times. And stop by my table, if only to say hello.

Love and blessings,

Kato

That moment you want to send an author death threats – A Review

Accepting the Moon: Prequel (Moonrising Book 0) by [Haigwood, K. S.]I decided to do one review for all three, because I feel this was the best way to put my scattered excitement together for all of them without seeming a little out of my mind.

Let me start out by saying this. I really dislike series books, especially when they are so intricately intertwined with each other. Why? Well, now I have to sit and wait until the authors get around to finishing the other book before I can figure out what happens next. But still, I binged listened to the audio of all three books (so far) in the Moonrising Series and between wanting to burn things and send the author death threats, I enjoyed the series. As I write this, I may or may not have slept last night – hey, don’t judge me!

Before I go further I have to say this – as a fellow writer I have to admit that I get attached to characters. Mine, especially, but when another author put life and care into the ones they create, these people, these beings gets entrenched in me as if they were created by me. I know that might sound corny but it is the truth.

Lets start at first with the narrators. For Accepting the Moon and Midnight Moonrising the narrator was Pyper Down. I saw her name and instantly rolled my eyes so hard, I am pretty sure I saw the back of my head. But, she was amazing! Her changes in voices weren’t as dramatic as a few others I’ve listened to, but boy, the emotions, the attitudes – It all fit perfectly with what I imagined in my own head.

For Andromeda’s Reign the narrator changed to B.D. McMonnies. First, ladies, keep a change of panties handy and a cigarette. Don’t care if you don’t smoke, you’re gonna need both. All my favorite characters (damn its so hard to write all this without spoilers. I don’t wanna give anything away here) a life that was just perfect. Everything from Ace’s attitude to his Beta’s – all of it was in stunning, voiced, audio. This cat is good!

I have some qualms about this series but that has nothing to do with the author or the work. I’m just a giant nerd who loves certain things and really need to get the hell out of my box. Now, let’s begin with Mena. Cheating husband with a secret is an  Midnight Moonrising by [Haigwood, K. S., Conley, Anne]understatement! Cheating husband – asshole, check! Secret – Well, trust me when I say said secret isn’t that he has a love child he’s been paying child support for, for the last twelve years. When you find out, YOU ARE GONNA BE FLOORED!

*ahem* back to Mena – Lord have mercy! I spent half the second book wanting to smack the crap out of her. She was infuriating and I’m really easy when it comes to characters, sometimes I even fall in love with the bad guys but this chick tested me. I ended the first three partially liking her but that’s neither here nor there. Other readers will LOVE her but I’m a little hinky with my character love.

I reserve the strongest feelings for the secondaries in the series, characters who made me laugh, made me cry, made me scream, made me fist pump–yes, I did fist pump (quite a few times actually). There is one secondary character in particular that I really hope the authors give his own book. He’s feisty and funny and loyal and *sigh* yes, I am biased but you will too once you read these books.Andromeda's Reign (Moonrising Book 2) by [Haigwood, K. S., Conley, Anne]

Ace, my feelings for him started out making me want to smack the crap out of him. Then as the story blossoms, he begins to grow. By the end of Andromeda’s Reign the things I wanted to do to that shifter would make even him blush.

What? I’m allowed to have book boyfriends!

Phoenix is still a bit of an ass but I understand why he is the way he is and what makes him tick–a few of those tickers aren’t healthy for man nor vamp–but I get it. Though by the end of the third book I wanted to stake him myself, I am reserving judgment until K.S and Anne gets around to releasing all the books. Then, I will render a decision on him.

The constant shifts often times made me want to scream but I supposed that is the mark of a good writer–ones who can keep you guess, make you comfortable then rips the rug out from under your feet! I love that!

The twists I never saw coming, which I secretly enjoyed.  The bottom line is the Moonrising books are spectacularly woven. Everything–from the lore and the language, the almost poetic feel of it,  to the striking and almost impossible flawless depths of each character will leave you satisfied and hungry for the next book.

K.S Haigwood and Anne Conley created a world you can be immersed in, one packed full of love, betrayal, confusion–all the things that take your emotions on a rollercoaster you never want to get off. I, impatiently, awaits the next book in the set. I hate rollercoasters (what’s with being afraid of heights and all) but this is one I really would like to stay on.

Please get your audio here, kindle and paperback here. You can stalk er I mean visit K.S Haigwood here as well as Anne Conley here.

Hugs,

Kato

 

BT Urrela – One hot mess

I’m 33 years old. And I have been a part of the romance writing community longer than BT Urrella. And this post isn’t about name calling or anything like that – there might be some shade but it cannot be helped.

When BT Urrela first came to my attention, it was through Michael Stokes. No one does the male body better than Mr. Stokes. I didn’t care that BT was an amputee –  a gorgeous man is a gorgeous man and believe me he is beautiful to look at – but apparently, from what I’ve been reading, he may be good to look at but he can be a bit of a prick.

Before I get to that – I also watched him on the television show Coupled and from what I saw, I thought for sure he was a pretty decent guy. With that said, when I found out I could buy his picture for book covers, I was over the moon! I didn’t care how much they cost. I was determined to save and save until one or more of those pictures were mine. But most of you know me, and bad behavior is bad behaviour and I can’t tolerate that.

Let me say this, I am a strong believer in second chances and of learning from one’s mistake. But when you do asshole things on more than one occasion, people have to start thinking that, yes, you are an asshole. Maya Angelou said “when someone shows you who they really are, believe them.”

It came to my attention that BT has ‘fat shamed’ someone and at first I laughed because I couldn’t believe it. I mean, he seemed like a nice guy, writing, modeling, the world is his. Why would he do something like that? That is until someone dropped a screen capture and I was floored.

To be honest, he claims it was a joke. We all have those moments when we make what we thought was a funny joke and it turns out it wasn’t so funny. We have those.

But this, I don’t know why  Mr. Urrela thought this would be funny. Someone needs to look up the definition of the word “joke” and send it to Mr. Urrela. First of all, taking someone’s picture without their permission is illegal–first of all. And an ex-playboy bunny is finding that out the hard way at the moment as she was charged for doing this exact same thing. Only difference is, the guy isn’t naked and the woman in that other case was. Secondly, how dare you take someone’s picture without their permission and post it on social media?

That is cruel.

The man is there working out, trying to be healthy and instead of going over, shaking his hand and working out with him, you’re posting his business all over social media as a “joke.” I dare you to take this to this man and see if he finds it funny.

Then, to make matters worse, when the backlash began, Mr. Urrela, began calling all those who opposes his assholeness “crybabies” because apparently, being a decent human being and calling bullshit to his crap makes people “crybabies.”To add to that, he began deleting comments from all who opposes his assholedness.  (Yes, I am quite aware that assholeness and assholedness aren’t real words but this occasion calls for it).

 

Seriously? Then, his photographer starts defending him. How can you defend this mess? Sure, from a business standpoint I get it, you’ve sunk so much work into Mr. Urrela that now you’re trying to back him thinking it will make the mess magically go away but it just makes me not want to support you either. You cannot, in good conscience think this is okay.

Then, after the above post, Mr. Urrela posted something he thinks is an apology. Listen, if he’d posted that before he posted the above, then I would be like “okay, he knows he has been king asshole and he is sorry he was being king asshole” but after the above post I just think that now he’s only apologizing because, one, he got caught. Two, someone is making him, and three he doesn’t mean a word of it. Then, he and his photographer begins deleting people’s comments whenever they say anything about the whole situation that isn’t kissing both their asses. Someone tried explaining that even if BT meant this as a joke, it was a poor one and he shouldn’t have done it. Another author was called “a nobody trying to start something” and blocked. So even after people are trying to explain to him why the few of us who is livid at his behaviour, are the way we are, he doesn’t listen. Doesn’t care. This shows he’s not sorry at all. He just said it to save face.

Look, the romance industry has been taking hit after hit recently. From underhanded business dealings within publishers, to lack of diversity to models who think they are the be-all and end all in the industry. We have been trying to show the world that romance is a serious field, that we are inclusive, that we love and support each other and that we carry ourselves with integrity and decorum. But this, Mr. Urrella, is not okay. This goes against everything we authors have been fighting for since day one. For people to take us seriously. How can they do that, when we fat shame others then act as if we didn’t do anything wrong?

Here’s my bottom line – If when people began showing outrage, Mr. Urrela had manned-up and gave a true apology, things would not have gotten this out of control. And before you say, this isn’t a big deal, imagine this man in the photo was your child. And you’re going through the internet and see this picture, with that same caption and all the comments below it. Would you think this wasn’t a big deal? Or imagine if the man in the photo was you – Would you think this was funny?

We’ve become a world of assholes because we’re behind a keyboard and a screen. We do not take people’s feelings in account because we feel we cannot be held responsible for our actions. Maybe, the few of us standing up won’t be able to do much, but at least we can let Mr. Urrela and people like him know this is not okay.

Mr. Urrela, I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but the gym is for working out and maybe picking up chicks (we hate that by the way). You shouldn’t be taking anyone’s pictures unless they are of you! You’re the kind of sorry excuse of a human being, that makes some people not want to go to a gym, who make women wear make-up to go work out because some idiot with a camera is going to take their picture and broadcast it to the world. That is NOT a safe environment.

People do not go to the gym to be your very own, private punchline.

And word of advice, when you show up somewhere late, you don’t walk in banging around, dropping things, slamming doors – no. You’re late. You walk in, take the first seat you can find, sit down and shut the hell up. You’re new to this community, and for you to be causing such an uproar, it’s not appreciated. And if you can’t behave your damn self, get the hell out.

I will no longer be supporting Mr. Urrela or anyone he operates with. This includes photographers. I may be a small fish in a big pond but this small fish is going to stand up to this kind of behaviour the only way she can – by spending my money elsewhere.

Hugs,

Kato

 

Queen Midas In Reverse

Image resultOkay, honestly, I read this story without reading the blurb. I thought it had something to do with a girl with powers to change things from gold to something weird or to reverse anything turned to gold by magic. Yeah, nothing like that. You should probably read the blurb first lol. And the cover had me thinking royalty, but nope, none there either. Anyway, here is the blurb, read it first – seriously – read it.

The Rock and Roll Fantasy gang find themselves in a special Contemporary Romance from USA Today Bestselling Author Diane Rinella.

For Jacqueline, a second date is as rare as a unicorn. She’s beautiful. She’s intelligent. So why is she experiencing a string of first dates that leaves her ducking behind bushes and running for buses? Contrary to her nature, trading in her heels and curling iron for an easy chair surrounded by cats sounds appealing. Is she cursed, or can she find the man who will steal her heart.

Let’s start off y saying this. I usually cannot stand stories written in the first person present tense. Nothing grates on my nerves more than reading a book that tells a story as if it’s happening as I read the book. I love a story that tells the story as if it already happened and the narrator is well, for lack of a better term, telling me the story. So that was a little ick for me.

Queen Midas in Reverse itself is super short. For all you know me and my tastes in romance I love two POV’s, the main female and the main male and that’s it. This story has a third but isn’t as problematic but just surprising. I could have done with a little more of the story because it was so fast and ending a little abruptly. I wanted more romance, more softness, more.

Let me break it down. The characters are awesome – there is absolutely no doubt about that. I am a SUCKER for friendship in a story–especially strong female ones. There is nothing like having that awesome person who is there with a kick in the pants if you need one or a hug or who will literally throat-punch a sucker for messing with you. That I am down with 100%.  When I read secondaries, there has to be a reason they are in the story. And these women had purpose and further the story beautifully.

Whenever my niece reads one of my books, I usually get a phone call that goes “Seriously aunty? You are mean to your characters.” But I should let her read Queen Midas in Reverse.  It’s not mean where Ms. Rinella kills off half the characters then sits back and go “take that suckas!” No, this was the kind of mean that had me going “oh no she did not just do that!” And at one point I was looking at my tablet screen going – in the middle of a food court saying out loud “This cannot possibly get any worse!” And then it did! Hilariously!

Jacqueline – Lawd I thought I had bad luck with men. And the “dark reaping”? I couldn’t breathe I was laughing so hard. I can totally relate with going out with a guy because he looks “normal” and then gets hit with a double uppercut when he turns out to be nuttier than a fruitcake.

This story will have you giggling and laughing out loud. I did enjoy it. It’s a tale that will keep you from going psycho on the streetcar as you’re stuck in rush hour traffic. You will love Jacqueline dearly and her friends are a riot. I really do wish it was longer and we could see more of mister hottie with the gorgeous eyes.

Stalk–er I mean–visit Diane Rinella here. You can find all her goodies there.  Snag your copy of Queen Midas in Reverse here.

Hugs

Kato

Sugar & Spice – RE Hargrave

**warning, reading this book will make you hungry and trigger one kick ass case of the munchies for all things sweet**

I am a HUGE fan of romance. Not only because it was a huge part of my childhood or because I write the stuff, but a good romance is often time weaved with amazing writing and that makSugar & Spice Audiobookes me happy. But lately, the genre has been flooded with sex, sex and nothing but.

Blurb: Lacey Harrison has been dealt an unexpected hand in life: being a single mom. With her father’s help and that of the residents at Royal Hills Nursing Home, she thrives and goes on to become a successful baker. She is content with her life but knows that she and her daughter Candy are missing something. Will things change for the better when Trent Childress moves into town and adds some spice to her sugar?

Review:

The Narrator is David White – I’m not sure how I feel about him. His reading was fluent but there was something about his voice that I just couldn’t quite get into.

The story itself very good. If you’re looking for sex and nothing but, this is not the story for you.  If you love a well done, romance–I’m talking a real grow in love– then this is the book for you.

The characters were stunning.  Can I say how much I love Lacey and her baby girl? That kid is an old soul that I love so much in stories. Lacey, on the other hand is a mom – one terrified her baby is growing up too fast and wants to keep her that little girl forever.Her story is real, and something that happens all to often in real life – someone could be reading this book and thinking “that is my life, right there.”

Here comes Trent. Trent is just the perfect definition of a man. Funny, caring, well spoken *trembles*

I loved this story. I am happy with the natural progression, of this story. Sugar & Spice is a welcomed change from the current market and gives me hope, that romance is alive somewhere in today’s market.

Listen here. Ebook here.

Hugs,

Kato

Part 2: The Divine Trilogy – A Divine Life

***Contains explicit sexual content (including multiple partners and gender pairings) and mature situations which could be trigger-inducing for some readers. Not meant for underage readers.***

Over the past year of being Jayden Masterson’s collared submissive, Catherine O’Chancey
has worked through the mental terrors left behind by her old Dom—she thinks. To celebrate their collaring anniversary, Jayden organizes a special day, during which her final limits and fantasies will be realized. Will it prove to be more than she can handle? Can she endure the erotic onslaught her mind and body will experience and survive unscathed? A Divine Life Audiobook
While Catherine faces dark shadows and pleasurable highs, Jayden finds his own inner strength being tested. He has come to realize that, somewhere along the way, Catherine has taken possession of his heart, mind, and body. Now he faces his biggest challenge ever; he must let go of all his submissives but one: his jewel, Catherine. Can he leave his philandering ways behind? Has he made the ultimate mistake by putting his jewel into the hands of others?

Review

A continuation of To Serve is Divine, this story A Divine Life,  picks up where the last book left off. I mean, right where it left off which was good for me and because I binge listen to both these books, everything was fresh for me. I enjoyed the story a lot, even if BDSM isn’t really my thing. Jayden and Catherine are further developed and more secrets are revealed about Catherine’s past.

Catherine continues to grow under Jayden’s watchful eyes, tongue, toys and other delicious things in his arsenal. She learns that even if Jayden cannot be there, the trust he places in a few amazingly hilarious friends will see her through. Their relationship will be tested, especially by the ghost of Catherine’s past and in the end – well, in the end it could all backfire in Jayden’s face.

Just when I thought Jayden couldn’t get any sexier, I was wrong. I have no idea how that even is possible but he shows sides of him that is just a joy to read er listen to.

The gender pairings were a surprise to me – not in a bad way. It was a welcomed surprise, actually. But none of them were simply tossed in there for shits and giggles. Each pairing had a purpose and seemed as if RE Hargrave planned every word down to the final detail. The story is still chock full of BDSM delights which fans of BDSM will be completely enthralled by. I came for the story and the wonderful Holly Jackson narrating this continuation in the Divine Trilogy and I stay for the love, the feels and the giggles.

Listen here. Ebook here.

Hugs,

Kato

 

Part 1: The Divine Trilogy – To Serve is Divine

**Please note, you must be 18+ to purchase/read this book. It contains things that might be Image result for proceed no furthertriggers for some people. In other words, this book contains HEAVY adult content and some events/actions that may be offensive to some. If you are easily offended, walk away man. ***

Okay, so most of you know me and I don’t do BDSM. I mean, after trying to read book one of 50 Shades, I had a bad taste left in my mouth on the whole BDSM genre. I may not be a part of the BDSM community but I have researched it a lot when I was thinking of writing an erotic novel set in that world. I wound up not doing it because, well, I’m weird. Anyway, when it was offered for me to read two of the three books, I was hesitant. Even after I was sent the codes to get free copies of these books in Audio format because I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. I mean most times people who write BDSM has no clue and you spend the whole time cringing. And,  I like female characters who talk back, who can tell you to go f*&k yourself and struts out with their middle fingers in the air, so this submission thing isn’t really may jam. But, a review needs to be written.

Blurb

Catherine O’Chancey is a reserved, demure, and graceful submissive. All traits she trained hard to enhance when she discovered the world of Dominance and submission in college. In an attempt to start fresh after the unexpected death of her last Dom, Catherine moves to Dallas, TX to escape the shroud of darkness he left behind in her life. She has tried to fight the need that resides deep within her to submit, but finally has to admit she can’t for it is not a choice, but part of who she truly is.

After months of mental preparation, she ventures back into the lifestyle by attending a coveted open-night event at Dungeons and Dreams, an exclusive BDSM club. Is it fate or coincidence that Catherine garners the attention of one of the club’s board members who happens to be on the hunt for the perfect sub – a partner who enjoys receiving pain and pleasure as much as he enjoys doling it out?
Jayden Masterson is many things: a firm Dom, a shrewd businessman, and a gentleman. What he isn’t, is someone who partakes in relationships outside of contractual ones with his multiple, uncollared, regular submissives. While he likes rough sex, he is not an animal, and can find pleasure only if it is consensual. What his harem is missing is a pain slut; could there be one in his future? Upon meeting Catherine, Jayden feels an instantaneous spark inside him that has him wanting to know not just her body, but her mind. He wants to unravel her mysteries and discover her secrets. Through pain can they find the pleasure they seek? Can part-time pain lovers find full-time fulfillment when it’s not in their contract?

Review

When I was thinking of reviewing this book, I had to mentally prepare myself for it. Like I said, BDSM isn’t my thing and it was right around the time when I was feeling particularly down on the romance genre because, let’s face it, romance isn’t romance anymore do I had just gone on a whole tangent to a friend of mine about how depressing that is to me.

BUT – surprisingly, I really enjoyed this story.  Let me explain – While this books has HEAVY BDSM elements, because it is ROOTED into the BDSM world, there is also a romance that is true and strong that’s weaved very well throughout the story – I really appreciated that. Another thing that is quite evident is that RE Hargrave knows her stuff. The story as thoroughly researched and that knowledge is peppered throughout the table in a way that is palatable to the reader. Some books you read and the author just throws things in to show how smart they are and that is quite annoying.

Lets talk the narrator – To be honest, I expected a man to read this story. I don’t know why, but when I realize it was a woman, I was a little skeptical but holy smokes Holly Jackson! Her Irish and Texan accents were spot on and so amazing! The tone in her voice the way she read the love scenes – Lord have mercy! I kept looking around to make sure my volume wasn’t too high and that no one around me couldn’t hear. Holly is amazing.

The characters in To Serve is Divine are wholesome and true to theTo Serve Is Divine Audiobook way of life in the BDSM. But they also have an added little quirk that had me smiling sometimes or laughing out loud during other time.

Jayden is just sexy as hell. From the authority he uses throughout his life, to the way he treats Catherine inside and outside the play room or when they are in a scene.  From the contract he designs for Catherine to the way he talks to her, the way he looks at her, I could tell this guy is a good one. He’s all tough and DOM sexy but when it comes to his Jewel, he’d burn the world to the ground. I felt Jayden’s concern for Catherine, his slow turmoil about if he can actually be good for her.
Catherine-oh lawd-what can I say about her? First her Irish accent is darling. She is one of those females who has have to learn her worth the hard way. Though she is a submissive, she is strangely independent but knows when she needs to draw strength from her DOM.

The secondary characters all had purpose. I am a HUGE fan of secondary characters because they lend some realness to the main characters. In this story, they all lend a brilliant air of authenticity to the tale.

Yes, there are a couple of things that made me cringe – because well, it’s BDSM and there are toys and actions within these pages that aren’t things I would actually participate in – But I understand why they were necessary for the story and the genre to make it real.

Bottom line is this (And I swear I never thought I’d say this about any BDSM story but here it is) RE Hargrave has a winner on her hands. To Serve is Divine is a love story about two people trying to find their place in a world that can often time turn ugly. It is lesson of being careful who you trust and knowing when to extend trust. It is a tale of crashing and burning then being strong enough to stand up and give the world two middle fingers way up. But most importantly, it is a well spun tale that is enjoyable to read or in this case, listen to.

Please support RE Hargrave (if BDSM is your jam) by clicking here for audio and here for ebook.

Hugs,

Kato

 

#BellLetsTalk day – A day for Mental Health

Today, January 25th is #BellLetsTalk day. For those of you who have no clue what that is, all day today, Bell (a communications giant in Canada) will be donating money toward funding programs for Mental illness. Today, I do my part by tweeting the heck out of the hashtag #BellLetsTalk hastag. This year, they even have a video of Howie Mandel encouraging people to tweet and for each time the video is viewed, bell will donate an additional 5 cents to the cause. Now, some of you may be reading this and thinking 5 cents? What can that do? Think about it. If this video is viewed 5 million times that’s 250, 000 dollars atop what is racked up from the views. That’s 250,000 that the cause did not have before.

There are a couple of things that irritated me about today so far which I’m not going to get into. I’m just going to say, trying to sell bagel while “celebrating Bell Lets Talk” its not cool and being pissed at bell because your province/town/city doesn’t have enough being done toward helping those with mental illnesses is ridiculous. Bell isn’t the one to be blamed for that. Go talk to your local MP and demand to know what they are doing for the cause.

Anyway, the point of this blog is this:Image result for bell let's talk

There is still a major stigma when it comes to those who suffer from a mental illness. People still try to avoid talking about the topic. My experiences have been different. For a few years I suffered from depression. I’m from a very hardcore Jamaican family so when I told my mother I was depressed, she promptly told me that I needed to “find something to do” and that “there was nothing wrong with” me. Find something to do? I was working, at times 2 jobs – one of which was like walking into the depths of hell every time I walked through the door, writing full time, trying to be a young adult with a social life and everything that comes with it–I had plenty going on at the time.

I saw my family doctor who refused to refer me to a mental healthy practitioner because in her views I was just sad.

Now let me be frank – I have been sad. When my grandmother passed, I was sad. When a book doesn’t hit the best sellers list on Amazon, I get sad. When I miss my niece, I get sad – What I was feeling for three years wasn’t sadness. It was a constant dark cloud over my head. I would burst into tears for no reason. I would spend days off, locked in my room, sometimes curled into a ball. I thought of death and dying often and even contemplated suicide a couple of times.

But I am one of the lucky few. I have a few friends and a niece who wouldn’t let me slip by the way side like so many others have been. Even though it cost me a pretty penny, I went out and saw someone for my problems, while my friends (especially my BFF Tster) had my back, encouraging me, checking in on me, helping me to lift myself out of this hole I seemed to have fallen into.

There is a disconnect between our generation today and our parents and grandparents when it comes to mental health. Most of our cultures really don’t believe in it, that the mind sometimes requires healing. They think we are merely weak or we have too much time on our hands.

But we know better so we have to do better.

We must educate those around us that mental illness isn’t a weakness. Let’s face it, if those “Strong” people had to live a day in our lives at the height of our illness they would not survive it. Mental health isn’t something we are supposed to talk about in the dark and it shouldn’t be an elephant in the room. We are pass the days when the family member with the mental illness should be sent off to the countryside to help their disposition. Today, we are better–today we know that by facing the illness head on, and seeking help, we can help the person with the illness. We can help them improve be it with medication or just some TLC.

Seeking help for depression in Ontario without a doctor’s referral is crazy expensive. I am not going to lie. And I don’t understand why this is not covered under OHIP since so many young people are suffering from depression–real, true depression. Seeing my doctor was $130 an hour plus tax.

The average cost to see a psychotherapist, as per therapy Toronto is between $125-175 per session. And you wanna know the kicker? You have to pay taxes on that because apparently it is not considered a medical expense!  I’m not sure of the government’s reasoning behind that because if something affect your health and could quite possibly cause your death, I’d say that’s medical, wouldn’t you?

This is a problem. Someone shouldn’t have to die from their mental illness for something to be done about the outrageous cost of getting help. This is why Bell is doing the let’s talk campaign every year. We need to face this–we are losing too many young people to mental illnesses that are quite treatable. Making someone feel like garbage for admitting they need help then making that help cost a king’s ransom is morally wrong and shouldn’t be happening.

So since we require a day for this, let’s show people suffering from mental health that they are beautiful, they are wonderfully made, and that there is nothing to be ashamed about. Let’s raise awareness as well as money for the issue – this is a big way to give everyone’s brains a big hug – oh ick…well maybe forget about the hug, but you know what I mean.

So please, tweet, retweet with the hastag #BellLetsTalk and well, Let’s talk!

Hugs,

Kato