Black Snow by EAB Upcoming Release Blog Tour

black-snowTitle:  Black Snow

Author: EAB

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Publication Date:  11/7/16

Word Count:  162,045

Buy links: Dreamspinner Press



Blurb: Prince Brier Snow has lived in the shadow of King Snow’s exalted memory. However, his fate changes when he nears his majority and Lirend’s steward queen attempts to dethrone him by exploiting an obscure requirement in the late king’s will: a yearlong sabbatical.

Brier travels to the desolate land of Aire to train under the Ceve guild, scorned refugees of war, including their guarded leader, Roland. Brier’s skillful master unlocks hidden potential, and what begins as a dutiful bond turns into ill-fated affection. When Brier returns to the capital, he’s carrying proof of his indiscretions with Roland—and his condition grows more apparent with each passing day. An affair with the huntsman is a scandal Brier’s enemies can use against him, but the birth of an heir is a burden even Brier is not sure he can bear.

Roland Archer, a man with a murky past, is skeptical of the contract to train the prince but willing to do anything for the guild’s freedom. Despite his best intentions, he is smitten by Lirend’s future king. Roland has resigned himself to solitude, but fate has other plans—for him, for Brier, and for Lirend’s oppressed subjects. Can Roland help Brier face a power-hungry queen and a country torn asunder? Either they will bring equality to a land that desperately needs it, or they’ll be thwarted by cunning enemies and an illusory curse.



“LONG AGO, there was a maiden with hair black as ebony and skin as white as the snow, so that they called her Snow White. Her lips were red as the rose,” Brier’s portly nurse told him, smiling.

“And she sang and danced. And she was very beautiful,” Brier added perfunctorily.

“Indeed she was,” replied Marietta. “She was kind and comely, and all the kingdom loved her, but the queen of the kingdom was jealous and wanted to get rid of her for good.”


“She decided to have her killed.”

“Oh no!” Brier answered, tone darkening.

“Oh yes!” cried his nurse. “She hired a huntsman to kill her in the wood and bring back her heart, so that she could keep it forever.”

Brier slid his legs up and placed his chin on his knees, enraptured in the story about the fair princess whose name was like his own.

“The huntsman did as he was told and took Snow White to the forest. As they entered the forest, they came across a field of flowers. Snow bent down to pick a bouquet of wildflowers, and the huntsman crept behind her and lifted his dagger!”

Brier gasped, horrified. “But he should not kill her!”

“He could not,” corrected the nurse, excitement alive in her eyes. “For he had fallen in love with the princess and told her of the evil queen’s plan.”

“Good gods,” Brier exhaled, relieved.

“Snow White ran,” Marietta whispered, and Brier hugged his knees more firmly. “She had to run away deeper into the woods to escape the queen’s wrath. She found herself alone in the deep, dark wood. ‘Get out… out…’ the trees whispered all around her, and she was terribly afraid. And rightly so,” the nurse added, whipping her head toward Brier almost in warning. “The dark wood is a dangerous place. She tripped and fell into a great crack in the earth. As she fell, a nearby willow’s roots seized her and pulled her under.”

“Then what happened?” Brier whispered, breath hastening.

“Then she lost hope that anyone would ever find her. She thought that she was doomed to live out her days locked in the roots of the old willow tree. Starving, thirsty, and withering away like an old winter branch. However, this could not be further from her fate. Yes, she was stuck, but a passerby heard her cries in the tree roots. He stopped in his tracks and called his brothers to come investigate. Men that wore beards and were half the size of normal men. Some might call them dwarves. Six more dwarves stopped and listened to the cries coming from the old willow. ‘Chop it down!’ the eldest brother answered. And so they did, all seven of them. They cut the tree down, and Snow White was saved.”

“Hooray!” Brier shouted as he jumped on the pillow top mattress.

“When they took her from the tree, she was dirty and exhausted. The willow had cursed her in its last effort of revenge for cutting it down. She had a scar on her neck in the pattern of a tree leaf, but she was alive, and so they brought her back to their cabin, and they mended her to good health.”

“Did she dance and sing again then, Marietta?”

“She did. And how fair she was, thought the dwarves. They spoke of her beauty to other folk who came through the wood. But then, word traveled back to the evil queen. And she was furious! She called for the huntsman, and he confessed that he could not kill Snow White. Enraged, she ordered the guardsmen to kill the huntsman, and, with his dying breath, he confessed his love for the princess.”

Brier reached over to grab a pillow off his oversized bed and squeezed. He suddenly had the feeling that the story would take a turn for the worse.

“The queen decided to finish the job the huntsman did not with a poisoned apple. She disguised herself as an ugly elderly woman, and she came to the cabin that Snow White lived in with the dwarves. She showed Snow White the apple she poisoned, bloodred and perilous, but still Snow had the urge to taste it. The princess took a bite of the apple, and when she did, she died.”

“How dreadful.” Brier shook his head. “Why should the queen hate Snow White so?” he asked, incredulous. “I do not understand.”

The nurse chuckled and smiled at him. “Shall I continue?”

“Please do, Marietta. I should like to know the ending,” Brier replied with a sad smile.

“Well,” the nurse said in a warm voice. “The queen did think that she had finally rid herself of the fair maiden, but alas, there was a crack in her black magic, one that she could not foresee. The magic of the willow was stronger than her own, and it purged the strength of her poison so that Snow White did not die but slept for many years. The prince of the neighboring land did hear of a maiden sleeping soundly in the wood on a bed of wildflowers, in the cabin of seven dwarves.”

“And, I suppose, he too was handsome!”

“He was a handsome prince, I should say, though not as handsome as you, Prince Snow.” Brier blushed through his wide smile. “He came on his white steed, and he found Snow White sleeping soundly just as the rumors had told. Indeed, she was fair, and the prince decided that he had to have her in death or in life, and so he leaned down and placed a chaste kiss to her rose lips.”

“What did happen then I wonder?”

“Then she did wake up, Prince Snow! Her eyelids fluttered open, and she rose from her bed made of daisies and baby’s breath! Oh, how happy were the dwarves and the prince. The dark magic that the queen put on Snow White fell upon herself! And she turned into the old and ugly woman she disguised herself as. The queen was so furious that she drove herself mad with rage. And so, Snow White married the prince, and the dwarves sang and danced and were happy. Princess Snow White had many children, and lived ever after.” When the story finished, the nurse stood up and helped Brier into the comforter. His eyes were heavy with sleep, but he pursed his lips and sighed.

“Did you not like the story, little prince?”

Brier bit the inside of his lip, struggling. “It is not that, Mar’, only that I feel sad for the princess.”

“And why should you? Did she not meet a happy end?” the nurse asked as she sat down on the corner of the bed.

“Mayhap,” Brier answered, considering. “But how did she come to love the prince who had only loved her for her beauty when the huntsman had loved her for her heart?”

The nurse blinked at the prince’s reply. “How indeed.”

“And the poor huntsman, who had died, rather than to disgrace himself with the blood of his beloved. ’Tis a sad story indeed, Marietta.” Brier pouted. “Although you said it was a happy end.”

“Well….” Marietta sighed, bemused. “I did not think of it in that way, little prince.” She tucked him in tighter as if swaddling a babe.

“I think that I should marry a huntsman over a prince,” Brier decided as he flopped his head into the mountain of pillows, smiling softly.

“And why not a princess?” the nurse questioned, crossing her arms.

“That is because I should like to be kissed by a huntsman,” Brier answered matter-of-factly.

Contact information:


Facebook: EAB Author Page

Goodreads: Goodreads


EAB is an airline steward/stewardess—depending on the day—who loves writing erotic fiction. This translates to serving Wild Turkey bourbon at 38,000 feet and writing smut at 3:00 a.m. EAB spends free-time role-playing and reading. While EAB’s true passion is writing, EAB also enjoys reaching high scores in nerdism, spending time with family (cats included), and watching anime. An East Coaster at heart, EAB loves New York’s Broadway and greasy, heartburn-inducing pizza. Feel free to drop a line or recommend some good reads! Always looking for a new book to devour!

Turn The Page…A Donation Anthology New Release Blog

That was only the end of the chapter, not your whole story….


turnthepage_postcard_frontTurn The Page…. a donation anthology

by Tempeste O’Riley, Dianne Hartsock, Nikki Prince, Grace R. Duncan, Sue Brown, Aine P Massie, Carole Cummings, Hope Ryan, Mark Zubro, Antonia Aquilante, D. Zander Crane


M/M F/F Transgender Genderfluid

Contemporary Urban Fantasy Paranormal BDSM Romance

(Each story is unique and special, so the genre varies wildly. All are LGBTQ)

Publisher: Abbey of the Brew City Sisters
Cover Artist: Jess Small

Release Date: October 7th, 2016 (ebook/print)

Length: Novel / 270 pages



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Turn The Page…. began as a simple idea and grew from there. No matter how bad things seem to be, just turn the page, there’s more—better—things to come. This is only one chapter in your life. It’s not the whole story. With this simple idea, Novice Sister Eroti-Quill—whom most know better as Tempeste O’Riley—began their quest to help Suicide Prevention and Awareness programs in their area. They managed to con (excuse me, convince) other authors to donate their time and stories to the project, and now, many months later, Turn The Page is born!

The authors in this anthology donated their talent as a way to support Eroti-Quill’s hope for others, to help bring strength to programs that so desperately need funding. It will allow them show those that need support but may not have it, or that may be afraid to reach out, just how much love and understanding surrounds them. Turn The Page…. is a diverse range of stories about the journey of love, hope, and acceptance.


Individual Blurbs:


Happy Birthday to Me by Tempeste O’Riley

When Dave’s best friend drags him out for his birthday—nearly kicking and screaming, he finds more than he expected at Sovereign, the BDSM club he half owned but had refused to step foot in for two years other than for administrative things while it was closed. He didn’t go to clubs. He didn’t sub anymore. Period.

Well… until he sees Master Nicky. Then his plans for his birthday change and he decides that maybe giving himself a present, might not be quite such a bad idea after all.

Robin’s Confession by Dianne Hartsock

How can Robin find true love without accepting himself first?

Purr by Nikki Prince

Sasha’s love was in imminent danger. All she wanted was to keep Tori safe. Stay at the cabin wait for the verdict from the council. That’s all they had to do. One little dip in the lake couldn’t hurt could it?

Lockdown by Grace R. Duncan

Gylam’s never been that great at communication and this time he’s gone too far. His penchant for keeping his mouth shut resulted in a disastrous trip to the local dungeon. Jackson, his partner—both cop and at home—and Dom, is well familiar with Gylam’s tendencies. The punishment he gives Gylam is just shy of his limits, but Gylam knows he’s earned it. It remains to be seen if it teaches him anything, though.

Ducks in a Row by Sue Brown

David spends his afternoons feeding the ducks, a peaceful activity until the day Jeff and his Labrador dog burst into his life. David and Jeff get to know one another, punctuated by Bozo’s mishaps, but David is unwilling to share all his secrets. Will Jeff give him the time he needs?

Butterflies by Aine P Massie

Kyndra visits Jaiden’s shop for a little birthday shopping but is there for more than the pretty blown glass designs she makes—lovely though they are. What she really wants is a date with the beautiful craftswoman. But can she push her fears aside and ask, or will her past get in the way? With Jaiden’s help, can who Kyndra is inside finally shine?

Once Step Back by Carole Cummings

When Sahir is busy running for his life, it never occurs to him that the being in wrong place at the wrong time might turn into the right place at the right time. Not until he literally collides with Nicholas and salvation comes by way of magical intervention. But when Nicholas ends up being the one who really needs help, Sahir has to decide the best way to give it—and how to offer it to someone who can’t even figure out if he wants it.

Superheroes by Hope Ryan

Many people reach a point where they think life can’t get any worse. Rock bottom, where the future is so bleak, they begin to ask, “why bother?”

When homeless gay man Wayne Kent reaches that point, standing on a Pittsburgh bridge on a cold Tuesday in April, the last thing he expects is to get stopped—especially by a man named Bruce Clark.

But Bruce has been there, he’s seen that, he’s thought and felt the things Wayne is now and he refuses to see the beautiful, hurting man become another statistic. Coffee and a sandwich is a first step and Bruce hopes it’ll lead to a permanent step up for Wayne. And maybe even a step toward more together.

Unworthy by Mark Zubro

A love lost over half a century ago. Is there really redemption for all of our regrets, or at least perhaps for one regret? A chance to change the decision you made over half a century ago, or at least a chance to say what was unsaid, to say what could be said now? The love you missed so long ago, and if you could have one moment again, once last chance.

Love and Hope and Magic by Antonia Aquilante

Once each century, a ritual is performed, the magic of which sustains the land and protects it and its people for the century to come. But the person who performs the ritual never survives. This time Ailill is chosen. He is honored and content with his fate, but his best friend Lorcan is not. Lorcan can’t accept the loss of Ailill and can’t see a life without the man he thinks of as his other half. But Ailill knew Lorcan perhaps better than Lorcan knows himself, and he knew a life of love and magic is waiting for Lorcan after Ailill is gone, if only Lorcan can find the courage to reach for it.

Façade by D. Zander Crane

David struggles with his gender identity as he searches his city for a woman-murdering madman in his female alter-ego, Façade. Can he overcome his depression and confusion long enough to stop the Grinning Reaper?



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About the Authors:


Tempeste O’Riley

Homo-Erotic Romance Author, Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud pansexual genderfluid whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what they couldn’t – defy the hate and come out. He has been their hero ever since. Tempe is a hopeless romantic who loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. They count their friends, family, and Muse as their greatest blessings in life.

Tempe is also a PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, Rainbow Romance Writers, and WisRWA.


Dianne Hartsock

Dianne is the author of paranormal/suspense, fantasy adventure, m/m romance, and anything else that comes to mind. She lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play. She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house with a fire crackling on the hearth and a cup of hot coffee warming her hands, which kindles her imagination.

Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.


Nikki Prince

Nikki Prince is a mother of two, who’s always had a dream to be a published author in the romance genre. Her passion lies in raising her children as readers, gaming, cooking, reading and her writing. Her mother can now breathe easy about the child who used to get in trouble because she was hiding books everywhere and reading when it wasn’t appropriate.

Nikki’s a multi-published author with several epublishing houses. She loves to write Interracial romances in all genres, but wants to let everyone know to not box her in, because there is always room for growth.

Nikki’s also a member of Romance Writers of America National chapter and is president of the OCC/RWA local chapter. She is also a member of the online chapter Passionate Ink RWA, The Beaumonde RWA, and the Rainbow Romance Writers (RRW).


Grace R. Duncan

Real, erotic, forever… Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica. A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind. As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.


Sue Brown

Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact, she hides so she can plot, and has become an expert at ignoring the orders.

Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. She had an Aha moment and put pen to paper that same day. Sue may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.


Áine P Massie

Áine is a proud member of the Rom-Critters, the Romance Writers of America®, WisRWA, and Rainbow Romance Writers. Áine has always had a particular fascination with vampires, mythology, and the unusual. When she can escape from her children and books, she enjoys… oh yes, reading, playing, ritual, a good cappuccino, and working with her healing stones.

Her first published work came in high school where she was part of a writing and drama group. However, she has been reading the likes of Shakespeare and Poe since late elementary school and enjoys most forms of fiction.


Carole Cummings

Carole lives with her husband and family in Pennsylvania, USA, where she spends her time trying to find time to write. Recipient of various amateur and professional writing awards, she is the author of nine published speculative fiction novels, two series, and… more short stories than she can keep track of.


Hope Ryan

Young adult/new adult author who loves to write the tough stuff…but always with a happy ending.

Hope Ryan is an out and proud bigender, bisexual, wife of a loving guy and mother to three, including an amazingly brave genderfluid son. She loves to write about the tough stuff, but also wants to see her characters happy in the end. She feels strongly about showing there is hope for everyone, no matter where you come from, how you identify your gender or who you love. Hope likes to play board and card games and can often be found playing God with her Sims or running around, fighting monsters in a virtual version of Middle Earth. Her TV and movie preferences lean towards anime, sci-fi and fantasy, though she’ll never turn down a good happily ever after love story, either. As long as there are explosions or action, she’s happy. She loves to read books of all kinds, though prefers stories about love in its many forms.


Mark Zubro

Mark Zubro is the author of thirty-four novels and five short stories. His book A Simple Suburban Murder won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Men’s mystery. His latest young adult mystery, Gentle, is just out. His science fiction trilogy, Alien Danger, continues to outperform expectations. He spends his time reading, writing, napping, and eating chocolate.


Antonia Aquilante

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the New Jersey Romance Writers.


Zander Crane

Zander Crane is an aspiring, if occasional author, computer troubleshooter, and semi-professional putt-putt golf commentator. He resides in West Chester, Ohio, with the ghost of his mother, a Manx named Hae Yu, and a dozen unfinished manuscripts. His inspiration is long-time friend Tempe.


Will You Be My Escort by Meg Harding Blog Tour


Will You Be My Escort, #2 in The Carlisles Series

200 pages

Dreamspinner Press

Cover by Reese Dante

A Carlisles novel

Jackson Carlisle has rotten luck with men and women, and after an especially bad situation, he takes a step back from romance. But with a two-week family reunion in Hawaii looming, his mom is determined to set him up with one of the sweet singles she knows would be perfect for him. A normal person would tell her no and be done with it. Instead, Jackson tells her he has a boyfriend. The only problem? He doesn’t.

Aaron Wilkes is an escort. He’s a little surprised when a friend’s girlfriend hires him to date her brother, but he’s had stranger jobs. Jackson is cute, and he thinks a fling with Aaron might be just the kind of no-strings-attached fun he needs to get over his dry spell. As they explore the islands together, their carefully laid plans begin to get away from them. Feelings aren’t supposed to come into play, but that shouldn’t be a problem. After all, you can’t fall in love in two weeks….


Part of being in a large family means everyone knows everything. And it’s never forgotten, because inevitably someone remembers it. So Jackson doesn’t know how he hasn’t heard about the family reunion until he’s staring at the ridiculous card on his dark-cream tiled counter. Someone has taken the time to make a collage of the entire family’s faces and merge them into lettering that reads “You’re invited to the Carlisle Family Reunion.” He’s not sure whether to be impressed or appalled.

His phone starts to trill. He picks it up without looking. “Are you seeing this?” asks James. “I think I’m hallucinating it.”

“No,” says Jackson. “I’ve got it in front of me. It’s painfully real.”willyoubemyescortfs_v1

The last thing in the world he wants to do is attend a family reunion. It’s a two-week-long affair at a resort in Hawaii (which would be lovely if the family reunion aspect was removed), occurring in three weeks’ time, during which they’re going to be surrounded by obnoxious extended family. It’s like something from a horror film.

“I don’t know why you’re complaining,” he says to James. “You’ve got a boyfriend.” He thinks about it. “Can Bastien not come?” He runs two businesses and works a lot, but he’s got a partner who can probably take things over.

“Bastien can come,” grumbles James. “He’s annoyingly excited for it.”

“He’s in for a rude awakening,” mutters Jackson. Bastien hasn’t met anyone outside of their immediate close-knit group yet—he wasn’t around for the last reunion. He’s probably expecting everyone to be like their particular branch of Carlisles. The extended family isn’t like them. Well, in some ways they are, but in others… no. They’re an eclectic group of people who mostly only bother to get together and converse for a period longer than a two-word holiday or birthday card every five years.

There’s a reason for that.

His call waiting goes off. He pulls the phone from his ear. “Mom’s calling,” he says on a sigh. “I’ll call you back.”

“Don’t bother,” says James. “I’m coming over, and we’re going to drink till we forget we’ve been invited.”

Jackson rolls his eyes. “You’re a drama queen.” He drops the call in the middle of James’s indignant squawks. “Hello,” he says to his mom.

“Hello, sweetie,” she says. “Did you get the invitation?”

He glares at their obnoxious collaged faces. “I did.” He looks closer. Someone has photoshopped a curled mustache onto James’s face. He holds the phone away from him as he snickers. Their cousin Bobby must have made the card. He hates James. “James has a mustache in the picture,” he tells his mom. “Did you see that?”

Her sigh is long and pained. “I did. I’m calling to let you know you have to go. You can’t get out of this.” She goes silent, but there’s something about it that makes Jackson feel like there’s more coming. He has a feeling he’s not going to like it. “I know things have been rough, since you had to move and all….”

And he called that.

“But I have a friend, she has a delightful daughter, and I think you two would really get along. She might take some of the pressure off the reunion? And I think it’ll be good for you. I don’t mean to worry, but you haven’t dated anyone since Angel.” He winces at the name. “It’s time to try again, don’t you think? Move on? We’re all worried about you, dear. I have a friend with a son too, he’s a bit older than you, but he’s got a nice job.”

The last thing he wants is to be set up by his mother. A sane person would tell her to butt out and hang up. Politely of course; this is his mom after all. Jackson has a short supply of sanity, though, and he’s been running on very little sleep for the last month. What comes out of his mouth, instead of “no, thank you” or “I don’t need someone else to be happy,” is “I’m already seeing someone.”


Buy Links:


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Giveaway: Paperback copy of Dinner for One

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Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF and Anglia Ruskin University. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes.  In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.





The Emotional Release Of Knowledge

This is a much more personal blog post than I usually post on my author blog and website. This is because of the fact that many of you have sent emails, Facebook messages, and even messages to my assistant, Melissa, asking about me, wondering where I was, and after finding out about the donation page and the FB auction that was started up for me, I decided to do something that makes me uncomfortable, and that I don’t do with people I don’t know well and don’t extremely trust—I’m going to share my personal business with you all.
First of all, thank you, to all of you who donated or who bid. The nurses at James A. Haley Tampa VA Hospital and I were all extremely touched by your generosity, as were my friends and family. I couldn’t believe the number of authors and artists who donated items, the people who bid, and the people who donated money on the other donation page. Though I wasn’t made aware of anything until much later, I was actually moved to tears—and anyone who knows me can tell you that is a very big thing. I feel extremely loved, and hearing the things that so many people said, well, it was very touching. While this is morbid, it was a bit like being at my own memorial service, and being privy to what might be said by those who would be able to attend. It was nice.
And if I’d said something like that at the hospital I’d be on suicide watch for 24 hours. LOL.
Anyway, so, to stop dawdling, here’s what’s happened. Let me give you background:
Four years ago, after having been in the Army and being injured, I was living in New York, and I starting to have pressure in my head. This wasn’t like a “headache-type of pressure”, whenever I described it to doctors starting with my doctor in NY, up until my doctor in Lakeland, FL, I described it as “an alien trying to pound its way out of my head.” It didn’t feel as if there was something crushing my head, it felt as if there was something trying to blow out. It was not a very good sensation. Whenever I would have one of these episodes, I would feel out of sorts after. I would have difficulty understanding people when they talked to me, or responding back, and soon after, I started to have vision problems. It started with my right eye and soon spread to my left. Through all of this I told my doctor in the VA Hospital in NY (Dr. S-as she will be referred to since there are forms filed which list her name regarding this matter) who blew me off. First I was told to “stand up slower” (seriously, that was her diagnosis), then I was told it was vertigo, prescribed new medicine that only made me sleepy but did not take care of the issue, and then my calls were basically ignored, until I had reached a point where the hospital had to assign me a new doctor.
I moved back to Florida soon after, my biological family had come to a “ignore it” tenuous-type of acceptance with my being a transgender gay man who wrote gay romance and wanted to help take care of me. I was back in the medical care of the doctor who had first taken care of me when I’d first been discharged from the Army, who knew that when I said my pain level was 3, for anyone else that was usually a 6 or a 7. When I went to see Dr. D (as I will refer to her) she asked me if I’d seen a neurologist, I told her I had (since I’d thought I had, or been told I had in NY), when she looked it up in the system, she told me I’d seen a neurosurgeon, not a neurologist. Having obtained the bulk of my medical knowledge from Grey’s Anatomy and Scrubs (and now shows like Chicago Med and The Late Shift) I said that they were the same thing. She assured me that they weren’t and scheduled me an appointment with a neurologist in Tampa, at James A Haley. When I got there I gave the neurologist the same list of symptoms, timeline, etc. as I’d given the doctor in NY. I was given an EEG, and afterwards the neurologist told me I had a seizure disorder that he thought may be the cause of everything. He, of course, told me not to quote him.
I was given new medication (of course) and things seemed to almost get better, though I still had these “episodes” of pressure, which were now termed “seizure episodes.” With the medication (if I took them when I was supposed to) they were mostly managed, but the pressure still occurred, the vision problems still occurred, and soon my body “turned” on me.
Some of the health issues I had weren’t in relation to the big issue, they were problems I had parallel to this, liver disease, kidney problems, neuropathy (no, I don’t have diabetes, though everyone keeps trying to tell me I “give” it to me. My dad has it, my grandmother has it, I have friends who have it, and I am extremely sympathetic to those who have it, but my doctor repeatedly assures me that I don’t have it: Vicktor, I know that it seems like you have everything under the sun, but you do not have diabetes), etc. but the doctors were focused on the big issue, especially since it had been going on for so long and I just seemed to be getting worse.
I want to stop here and point out something: I’m a fighter. I’m fiercely independent. I have been since I was a kid. I had to help my mother raise my younger siblings because my biological father was always on the ship, deployed, or off at work, then they divorced when I was 10 and I really stepped up to help her out. I didn’t have a childhood, and while there may be a sliver of me that regrets that, I wouldn’t change my actions. I did what I had to do. So, because of that, when all of this was going on, I was getting very little to no sleep, every night, learning how to be independent. Talking to people, walking hallways of unknown places late at night on my own, sitting in unknown places with my back in the corner, against the wall, because I needed some control in my life. There are a lot of things I did and still do that people don’t know about because there is a driving force inside of me that says I can’t be dependent upon anyone or ask anyone for help. And yes, I know, we all need to ask for help sometimes, but for me, this is an extremely tough thing to do.
Anyway, last year, I developed what I like to call “The Never-ending Sinus Infection” that went on for months. In April, I woke up with such an extreme pain in my left leg that it made me gasp (it felt as if someone had wrapped a rubber band around my thigh and pulled one strand as tight as they possibly could). I could barely walk on it. I started having a tingling sensation in my feet and hands, and for the first time since the pressure started in my years before, I was actually scared. I called my doctor and told her what was going on. Dr. D., knowing me, knew that if I was calling her, telling her that my pain level was at an 8 and I was scared, things were serious. She told me to go to the ER. I did, but not the VA one (which was my error). I was told that I’d just “twisted” my leg and sent home with a prescription for aspirin even though the doctor never ran any tests or touched my leg or anything.
In July, after attending Rainbow Con in Tampa (which I thoroughly enjoyed) I went to Jacksonville to spend time with my daughter until my apartment the VA was getting for me was ready. I was having dinner with my daughter, her girlfriend, their friend, and her two daughters, when I had a sharp pain in my chest. My left arm went numb and I had difficulty breathing. I gasped and told my daughter what was going on, but tried to tell my daughter I would be fine. I didn’t think it was a heart attack. It didn’t feel like what my father had described and there was the pressure thing in my head again. I thought I was just having a bad seizure episode, but when we got to the hospital, I couldn’t move my left arm and I had difficulty holding anything in my left hand. When they went to admit me into the hospital, they realized that my left leg was dragging slightly. After running tests, they came and told me that I had numerous white patches on my brain and that I’d had a stroke. I was stunned. I knew about my seizure disorder but now I was having to deal with the fact that I’d had a stroke and while they weren’t sure if the ”left side weakness” was permanent, it was something that I had to deal with in that moment.
Since the hospital I was admitted at was a civilian hospital, they wanted to transfer me to the VA hospital in Gainesville because the neurologist noticed something “odd” and he wanted me to have in-house physical therapy. They also wanted to run more tests. Knowing that the VA was only going to run the same tests over again that the civilian hospital had and not wanting to go to Gainesville to be in a hospital alone, I chose to leave AMA. I wasn’t back to full-capacity, but I had work to do, writing to complete, I wanted to be with my daughter… and I really, really hate hospitals.
When I moved into my apartment in September, I still wasn’t back to where I used to be and everyone who knew me well could tell. I slept a lot, I had trouble with speech, difficulty typing, I still had left side weakness, and all of a sudden I started having other problems as well. The pressure in my head started to come on all of the time, my service dog I had at the time (Isadora-I don’t have her anymore, I had to rehome her when I got sicker and she needed to go out, be fed, etc.) who was very sensitive to me, spent most of her time, curled up somewhere near me whining, trying to get me to take my meds, eat, reminding me to shower (oh yeah, me, the guy with OCD forgot to shower-OFTEN) and standing outside of the shower just in case I fell or got weak, pressing her body against the curtain so I could lean against her body. I was consistently going to the bathroom, having stomach pains, pain in my left leg, left arm, weakness in both of them, and having memory issues.
It all came to a head in December when I had a seizure and fell in my apartment alone. Isadora barked like crazy until one of my neighbors came by to find out what was going on. The apartment complex I live in is very close and my neighbors check in on me all the time, when the found me, they called 911 and I was rushed to the hospital, things went from bad to worse over the next five-six months.
I had seizures, mini-strokes, they ran tests, I had anxiety attacks, one of my kidneys had liver damage, I have liver disease, my heart was having issues, I was still having tingling in my feet and hands, ringing in my ears, nausea and vomiting that I’d been suffering from off and on for years as well as the acid reflux that I’d been treating by drinking ginger ale and Sprite; and through it all the doctors kept trying to figure out why I was suffering from these issues as well as why I had the pressure in my head, and what the mass on my frontal lobe and the “cluster of cells” at the top of my brain meant. I had numerous MRIs, MRAs, EEGs, EKGs, Echocardiagrams, and other tests done and while they did discover some things and started me on new medications, but still the pressure persisted.
Finally, I was given a spinal tap. The first time they attempted it, they weren’t able to do it because of the pain and my scoliosis. Finally, they had to take me down to the IR department rather than doing it in my room, and giving me a monitored dose of morphine (I spent time being sedated and given monitored doses of narcotics because of my wish to not have anything too strong that I can just give to myself) so they can do the test. Before they gave me the test, I talked to the guy doing the check in and he asked me about why I was there and I told him about how everything had started and for the first time since the medical issues had started, I didn’t describe the pressure in my head as “an alien trying to punch its way out of my skull” I said that it felt like “a pulsing pressure around or in my brain.” He asked me if anyone had talked to me about the possibility of me having: pseudotumor cerebri. I asked him what it was (ummm… hello? Neither Grey’s Anatomy, nor Scrubs, nor Chicago Med, or The Late Shift have ever covered a diagnosis like this before. I would know.), and he told me that it was “a brain tumor that’s not a brain tumor.”
Yeah. Right. Thanks.
So the spinal tap was run, and to make a long story even longer (hahaha) the head neurologist, Dr. G., whose like the best neurologist in VA Hospital or the area or something, came in with the resident who had been assigned to me, to let me know that yes, I had pseudotumor cerebri, and that if it hadn’t been for the IR tech nurse, then it was possible that they might not have been looking as closely for that.
I cried.
Like a bitch.
I sobbed.
Not because I had something that is defined as: “False brain tumor”: Symptoms mimic a brain tumor, but no tumor is present (Because this condition causes symptoms of elevated pressure in the head – which is also seen with large brain tumors – but have normal scans, the condition has been called pseudotumor cerebri, meaning “false brain tumor”). But because finally, finally, FINALLY they knew what the fuck was wrong with me.



When Dr. G. started to recite the symptoms, I started laughing:
·         Moderate to severe headaches that may originate behind your eyes and worsen with eye movement
·         Elevated pressure in the head
·         Ringing in the ears that pulses in time with your heartbeat (pulsatile tinnitus)
·         Nausea, vomiting or dizziness
·         Blurred or dimmed vision which can increase over time
·         Brief episodes of blindness, lasting only a few seconds and affecting one or both eyes (visual obscurations)
·         Difficulty seeing to the side
·         Double vision (diplopia)
·         Seeing light flashes (photopsia)
·         Neck, shoulder or back pain
·         Prompt diagnosis and treatment of pseudotumor cerebri is important since it may lead to progressive (and possibly permanent) loss of vision.
·         Neck stiffness
·         Forgetfulness and/or depression
·         Often, pseudotumor cerebri headaches often occur at the back of the head and start as a dull pain, which tends to be worse at night or first thing in the morning.
·         Vision problems in pseudotumor cerebri evolve slowly over time, with temporary episodes of visual blurring that can start in the peripheral field of vision. If the pressure continues to build up, the nerves affecting eye movement can also be affected causing double vision.
·         The individual may not even notice until later in the clinical course of the disorder when the central field of vision is involved and the symptoms become constant. At this point there is a growing risk of blindness.
·         It is increasingly recognized that PTC can also affect memory and cognition.
All of the things he’d described, all of the things above I have gone to the VA hospital for. I’d been treated for, and each time I was told it was something else, something different, something related to something else. To know they were all connected gave me an extreme feeling of relief. So I had an emotional reaction… and I don’t cry.
I asked Dr. G. what was our next step. He told me that usually people were diagnosed and treated early enough that the medicine: acetazolamide can actually help to either hold off or reverse many of the symptoms above, however, with me, I’ve been suffering from this for over four years now and they just “aren’t sure” if the medicine was going to help me, but they wanted to try before they had to take more drastic measures (ie, surgical placement of shunt, or special tube, to redirect fluid from the brain and ease pressure, surgery to decompress increased CSF around the optic nerve, and/or placement of a stent in the draining venous sinuses if narrowed, to improve CSF absorption and reduce intracranial pressure.)
So I was sent home, with a skilled nurse (don’t ask me if she’s a LPN, or RN, or CN or whatever, because I don’t know, and I had one really rude nurse at the VA hospital who practically sneered at me when I called her a nurse and she told me that she was a RN: ex-squeeze the fuck out me, I love nurses don’t get me wrong, but your rudeness is uncalled for), a home-health aide, and a physical therapist, as well as a supervisory nurse to make sure everything runs well. The skilled nurse makes sure I take my meds twice a day (because if they aren’t put in my hand, and I’m constantly reminded to take them, I will forget to take them), the home-health aide comes to help out with the cooking, cleaning, laundry, to help remind me to eat, shower, to make sure I’m up and walking around, and then there’s my physical therapist, whom I call the sadist. He, of course, is the one who is trying to help me get full functionality back in my left side. However, since my first major stroke last year,

I’ve had two confirmed mini-strokes, and each time one of the nurses come they essentially are watching for the possibility of another stroke, a seizure, or the worsening of any of the PCT symptoms. So I receive vitals constantly, phone calls persistently from them, and every cough, sneeze, or twitch is catalogued. And for someone like me who hates asking for help, or telling people what’s going on with me, or can hardly remember it all, it sort of makes me feel violated.

At the same time, I’m grateful for them. Because I have way too much more to do. And these people, these nurses, physical therapists, aides, etc. are helping me to be able to get them done. They are keeping me around for my daughter, for my family, my friends, and for that I’m grateful.
And for those of you who talked to my friends Ryan and Angel, or who called to reassure, encourage, or offer comfort to my daughter, while I was sick, thank you. To the few staff members of Dreamspinner Press who knew what was going on and who wrote to me and kept me entertained, encouraged, or who gave me something to do when I felt like I was going to go crazy, who let me vent, who supported me and didn’t let me get down on myself when I said I was only writing about 150 words a day, thank you so much.
And again thank you to all of you for your support, your donations, your words of encouragement, support, and everything else. You have no idea what it means to me.
So, for those of you who have asked me when the next book for whatever series is coming, or when a book is going to be coming out on audio, or what I’m working on… well, I have one book that I’ve been working on for six months and I have two chapters left. That should let you know how hard things are for me as far as writing right now. But I’m still trying, it’s just taking me some time. The ideas are there, the storylines are there, but getting the connection from my brain to my fingers is taking a lot longer. This blog post, which is coming to an end, took me a week to write, and there might be some things which repeat, I don’t know.
Anyway, I wanted to let you all know what was going on, since you were all nice enough to donate and bid to help me, though I had no idea it was going on (-glares at Pat-) I figured I would share it with you. Thank you for your concern. I’m not back completely, and it will still take me a while to be 100% but I’m just happy to be out of the hospital and to know what’s going on with me.
And thank you to the authors whose books I was able to read (before my iPad died in a horrible toilet related incident), your words made my stay bearable: Amy Lane, Anya Byrne, Aiden Bates, Wolf Specter, Willa Okati, Haylee Wolf, Stormy Glenn, TJ Klune, Andrew Grey, Abigail Roux, Piper Vaughn & Kenzie Cade, Heidi Cullinan, Kellan Larkin, Elaine White, Grace R. Duncan, Hannah Walker, Roan Parrish, Marcy Jacks, Maggie Walsh, Cree Summer, Renae Kaye, Shannon West, Rebecca James, Jess Buffett, Giovanna Reaves, Terry Poole, T.C. Orton, Shae Connor, Jaime Samms (I read new stuff, but The Foster Family is my go-to comfort read of yours), Mary Calmes (I read your newest release but you know which books of yours are my favorites. I returned to Jin and Logan, and Rand and Stef), Tatum Throne, Antonia Aquilante, Lynn Stark, Erin M. Leaf, Morticia Knight, TJ Cross, A.E. Via, Tara Lain, Melanie Hansen, and Felice Stevens. As soon as I get another iPad I’ll be able to continue reading and enjoying your books and the works of others during those times when all I can do is lay in bed.
I hope you all have a wonderful week, and again, thank you so much.
Keep Reading, Keep Loving, & Never Stop Fighting For A Better World,
-Vicktor Alexander

Where Author Vicktor Alexander Ties Up Romance and Makes It Say His Name