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To Love and To Cherish – for Everyone

One of the Twitter trends I follow regularly is #marriageequality. I popped over there last weekend to see what was new and found this link to an article at Stltoday.com. Quoting from the article, “When [Missouri] Highway Patrol Cpl. Dennis Engelhard was killed in a Christmas Day traffic accident near Eureka, the agency described him as single with no children.” The article continues, “Engelhard, hit by a car that lost control in the snow, was gay. He left behind a partner of nearly 15 years who was not mentioned in his obituary or official information released by the Highway Patrol, although members of the agency knew about his sexual orientation.”

Our son has been partnered for nearly a decade in a state that does not sanction marriage equality. If something happened to either him or his partner, neither would be entitled to any death benefits. In fact, civil marriage carries a total of 1138 federal benefits and responsibilities that are not available to same-sex couples, even if they live in a state that recognizes their marriage. You can find a summary of these rights at Marriage Equality USA.

Why do the two halves of Adriana write what we write? Of course, we write because we love erotic fiction, and we love reading and writing loving relationships and hot sex across a range of gender combinations and polyamorous groupings. But also, as lifelong activists, we write to lift up the right of all persons to freedom of sexual expression – in short, to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

We hope you’ll enjoy some of the fruits of our labor. Together with fellow authors from Sapphic Planet, we’re part of an anthology of lesbian love stories being published this month by LoveYouDivine Alterotica. Entitled To Love and To Cherish, the fourteen stories will be released over the first two weeks of February, first as a series of three e-books, and in print as a single volume on Valentine’s Day. All profits from this collection will go to benefit Marriage Equality USA.

Our story, “Embracing the Fire,” is in volume three, Lives and Wives, releasing as an e-book on Friday Fbruary 12. Here’s a blurb and an excerpt to whet your appetite – come join me at Midnight Seductions Yahoo Group  Saturday February 13 for a chance to win an autographed print copy of the entire collection!

And be sure to check out Lara Zielinsky’s radio show “Readings in Lesbian & Bisexual Women’s Fiction” for a 2 hour launch special for the complete anthology, in print, on February 14, 2010. Both halves of Adriana will be there, and I’ll be reading an excerpt from “Embracing the Fire!”

BLURB

The deep chill of a Vermont winter will require lots of firewood, so canoe and wilderness guide Brandy Latham welcomes the help of her best friend, Stephanie Watkins. Together they saw, split and stack as they’ve done for many years – but what will happen when new fires ignite between them?

EXCERPT

Bending over in the shower, Brandy welcomed the shards of water slicing across her lower back and buttocks. Although she guided fishing parties on area lakes, even the work required to set up and break up camp and paddle canoes against the wind didn’t compare to the strenuous exercise of sawing, splitting, and stacking wood.

She turned and soaped her breasts. If she was aching, how must Stephanie be feeling? Stephanie seldom guided anymore. Since she’d had to support her loser of a husband she’d taken on the job of assistant manager at the grocery store-a job with stress, but not as physically demanding as guiding or sawing wood.

Brandy shuttered her eyes and let the steaming water have its way. Would Stephanie welcome a massage? It had been on the tip of her tongue to invite her to share a shower, but that would’ve been too much, too quick.

Not that she hadn’t waited for years to follow up on that one night of bliss they’d shared after their high school graduation. Well, at least it had been bliss for her. It might not have been quite that for Stephanie. She had hooked up with Jerry as soon as he’d gotten back from his Guard weekend. Then they’d gotten serious.

Cringing, Brandy still hated remembering having to stand beside Stephanie at the wedding. That had been pure hell, but Stephanie never noticed. She thought she was entering heaven. The bastard even tried to hit on Brandy a couple times. After the first time she said something to Stephanie, but she was beyond listening. From that point on Brandy bided her time trying to be supportive but doing nothing to sour the friendship she and Stephanie had shared from the time either one of them could remember.

Stepping out of the shower and grabbing a towel, Brandy worked on her hair and tried to keep her pulse steady. She would never do anything to sever their relationship, but she had to know if there wasn’t more possible for them. She knew her own heart, but she wasn’t certain Stephanie had a clue.

She thought she’d caught Stephanie eying her differently a few times over the last couple months. Her divorce had been final for three months now. As far as she knew, Stephanie wasn’t dating. And she’d certainly know if she was. She doubted there was a secret between them-except for her desire to love Stephanie wholly and completely.

 

It’s Iowa’s turn

Last April I stood on the steps of our local county courthouse on April 3, the day the Iowa Supreme Court handed down its decision about marriage equality. All over the state, OneIowa had organized local rallies of supporters who pledged to gather at 5pm, no matter which way the decision went. I truly didn’t expect a positive result, and I can’t describe the exhilaration, pride and relief I felt as some forty or fifty of us held placards, waved to passers by (all of whom were friendly!) and heard heartfelt words from straight supporters and members of the LGBT community about what this means for all of us. Our child can now marry—Happily Ever After is for everyone.

That victory is now in grave danger. The Iowa State Legislature opens today for its annual session and foes of marriage equality are pouring funds into their campaign to change Iowa’s State Constitution so that the legal rights of marriage will only be available to opposite sex couples. If you’re an Iowan and you care about this cause, now is the time to take action. If you’re not from Iowa, pour your energies into wherever the battle is waging in your own state, and please consider donating to state or national marriage equality organizations. For us in Iowa, that would be OneIowa. Nationally, a good option is Marriage Equality USA.

The beauty, excitement and long term happiness in LGBT relationships is a constant theme in the books we write – we’re a married couple, writing LGBT erotic romance under the pen name Adriana Kraft. Most of the time our heroines are bisexual, and their happy endings span the spectrum of relationship possibilities. We hope you’ll check out some of our published books.

In 2010, we’re thrilled to be part of a project that will provide concrete support for marriage equality.

To Love and To Cherish
an anthology of lesbian love and marriage
from loveyoudivine‘s FemErotica line

and the writers of Sapphic Planet
edited by Beth Wylde and Lara Zielinsky


To Love and To Cherish is an anthology of fourteen stories celebrating lesbian relationships, and all profits from its sale will benefit Marriage Equality USA. The stories will be released by Love You Divine in a series of e-books beginning on January 29, and all fourteen will be combined in a print release on Valentine’s Day.

 

National Equality March

Were you there? I couldn’t be in D.C. in person last Sunday, but I watched on C-SPAN and tweeted with #NEM as high profile movie stars, musicians, writers, activists and other leaders followed one another in rapid succession with their powerful voices for ALL civil rights. Lady Gaga, Judy Shepherd, Julian Bond, Cynthia Nixon, Kate Clinton, Stacyann Chin, Billie Myers, Michelle Clunie, Dan Choi, Cleve Jones, Lance Black – the list seemed endless. It was a long afternoon, but since I tuned in late I hung out till the very end. Here are some of the lines I found most moving:

Michelle Clunie: “This is no longer a gay rights movement – this is a civil rights movement.”

Staceyann Chin: “Every right for every resident!”

Angela Green: “We either educate our children, or we bury our children.”

Cleve Jones: “There’s no such thing as a fraction of equality.”  “You must promise to go home and do the work that is necessary. It won’t be as exciting as this march.”

Dan Choi: “Patience is not a plan. Silence is not a strategy”

Julian Bond: “We have a lot of real and serious problems in this country, and same-sex marriage is not one of them.”  “No people of good will should oppose marriage equality.” “Rights for Gays and Lesbians aren’t special rights … It isn’t special to be free from discrimination.”

I saw a great tee-shirt: “Homophobia – now THAT’s a choice!”

And there were some pretty good tweets:  “Iwomoto: Instead of asking is sexuality nurture vs. nature – ask is bigotry biological?” (via @rodmccullom). “Inter-racial couple holding sign @ National Equality March in DC today saying ‘our marriage was once illegal too.’ That says it all” (via @sourbear).  “If you hear the word LOVERS and all you can think of is a MAN and a WOMAN, then you have straight privilege” (via @blogdiva)

Probably it was Judy Shepherd who moved me most, in spite of being brief. My son came out to us as gay barely a month before the death of Judy’s son in 1998. I was terrified then and I am still terrified by the hate that rages in the hearts of too many Americans. Here are her words:  “When you leave here today, don’t forget, the work is being done by you. The President CANNOT do it alone.”

 
© 2017 Adriana Kraft. All Rights Reserved.