It's more than a day, this is a way of life. Rare diseases impact lives.

by Susan D. Taylor

I write romance. There's always a HEA better known as the HAPPY EVER AFTER. Isn't there?

That's not the end of the story when it comes to reality. Life is composed of moments intersecting. Our life into the lives of others. Is the glass half empty or half full, or even there to begin with? Well that depends upon what we bring to the table. 

I could tell you a different type of story today. One with the components to fit the rare disorders without borders taking place right now. I'd rather tell you that many people are impacted by rare conditions as varied as the rainbow. Rare conditions may affect a person's body but not erode his or her spirit.

What makes us unique the human condition. What makes us strong is our will. What makes us victorious is our desire to seek a better way.

Today I celebrate what makes me different from you but what also makes us the same. We are the human spirit together.

If you've a story to tell, share your life. A word, a sentence,or a whole book. Take part in a life without borders.

  • February 28, 2013 marks the sixth international Rare Disease Day coordinated by EURORDIS and organised with rare disease national alliances in 24 European countries. 
  • On and around this day hundreds of patient organisations from more than 60 countries and regions worldwide are planning awareness-raising activities converging around the slogan “Rare Disorders without Borders”
  • Activities will take place across Europe, all the way to Russia, continuing to China and Japan, in the US and Canada, and as far as Australia and New Zealand!

Find out how to Get involved.
Find out more about this year's theme.
- See more at:

2013 Oscars-What's there to know? PLENTY

I'm totally taking this from the Chicago Tribune.This sucker was hard even after the fact. Perhaps if I'd watched then not.

"Are you ready to tussle with this formidable Oscar quiz?
Argo knock yourself out."

So how well-stocked is your Oscar trivia bank? Find out?
1Adele's "Skyfall" could become the first best song winner for a James Bond theme. Which one of the following was not a best song nominee?

A. Goldfinger

B. Live and Let Die

C. Nobody Does It Better (The Spy Who Loved Me)

D. For Your Eyes Only

2  Oscars host Seth MacFarlane could win a statuette for best song; he co-wrote "Everybody Needs a Best Friend," from "Ted." Who is the only person to win an Oscar the same year he was a host?

A. Sammy Davis, Jr.

B. Jack Lemmon

C. Steve Martin

D. David Niven

3  Emmanuelle Riva ("Amour"), 85, and Quvenzhane Wallis ("Beasts of the Southern Wild"), 9, are, respectively, the oldest and youngest best actress nominees ever. Who are the oldest and youngest best actor nominees ever?

A. Henry Fonda and Mickey Rooney

B. Richard Farnsworth and Jackie Cooper

C. Clint Eastwood and John Travolta

D. Peter O'Toole and Justin Henry

4 Who of the following nominated actresses had her first credited movie or TV role at the youngest age?

A. Sally Field

B. Anne Hathaway

C. Helen Hunt

D. Jennifer Lawrence

5 "Argo" is considered a best picture favorite despite director Ben Affleck not being nominated. Which is not one of the three movies to win best picture without a director nomination?

A. "Cimarron"
B. "Driving Miss Daisy"
C. "Grand Hotel"
D. "Wings"
6 Affleck won the Directors Guild of America feature-film award despite the Oscar snub. Three of these directors won the DGA honor but not the Oscar in the same year. Which one did not?
A. Francis Coppola
B. Ang Lee
C. Martin Scorsese
D. Steven Spielberg
7 Some speculate that "Argo" could win best picture and no other Oscars. What was the last best picture winner to take home only that award?
A. "Chariots of Fire"
B. "The Greatest Show on Earth"
C. "Mutiny on the Bounty"
D. "Grand Hotel"
8 As an "Argo" producer, George Clooney became the second person to have been nominated for best picture, director, screenplay and actor. Who was the first?
A. Warren Beatty
B. Charlie Chaplin
C. Robert Redford

9 True or false:

If Daniel Day-Lewis is awarded best actor for "Lincoln," he will become the first person to win an Oscar for playing an actual U.S. president. (Well, we know he was...)

A. True

B. False

10 Which president has not previously been portrayed in an Oscar-nominated performance?

A. John Quincy Adams

B. Harry S. Truman
C. Richard Nixon

D. John F. Kennedy

11 Which actor has been nominated twice for playing U.S. presidents?

A. Anthony Hopkins

B. Frank Langella

C. Raymond Massey

D. James Whitmore


I felt as though I was back in school with a pop-quiz.
See the answers below for these 11 and see how you do on the others back at the Chicago Trib.

1. A

2. D

3. B

4. C

5. A

6. C

7. C

8. A

9. A

10. D

11. A


COMFORT AND JOY by Charley Descoteaux

Today we've a special treat. Author of Comfort and Joy, Charley Descoteaux is visiting with her awesome sense of humor and wit.

Where were you born?
Berkeley, California, and lived all over the Bay Area while growing up.

What book do you remember from childhood?
That’s a hard one!  I started volunteering in libraries in the first grade and have always loved being surrounded by books.  One that stands out is a collection of fairy tales.  I always loved the idea that magic could be real, that if you turn over a rock or turn a corner you could find something amazing that would change your life forever.
Did education play a big part of your decision to become a writer? What do you vividly remember about being in school?
I always loved school, but most of my education has come directly from books.  I grew up in government subsidized housing and the schools in those neighborhoods are sub-standard at best.  If not for a few stellar teachers I probably wouldn’t have kept reading past the second grade—to say it was frowned upon to always have your nose in a book would be as much of an understatement as the condition of the schools I went to.

What prompted you to begin writing romance stories and why did you begin?
I’ve always had characters in my head telling stories, and from the age of about 12-13 most of them were interested in falling in love along with whatever else they happened to be doing.  Not all of my stories are Romances, but those are my favorites.  Happy endings just make me happy.  It’s as simple as that.  J

Are you a plotter or pantser? Or combo? What works and what’s difficult in the world of writing?Pantser all the way!  Once I’m finished with a draft I go back and map out the character arc, because all of my stories are character-driven.  I just about never know how a story will end until I’m past the midway point and sometimes not until the very end.  Once the draft is done I go back to cut repetition and fill in any weak spots.  It’s a lot of work, but if I try to plot beforehand I never finish—it’s too boring for me to know too much ahead of time.  And the best stories are the ones that take on a life of their own while I struggle to keep up.
That said, one of my current WIPs is a paranormal with mystery elements, so I did a little more thinking about plot while writing that first draft.  I had to think about the mystery as an arc of its own and how I wanted that to look.  As usual, the guys sprung a few surprises on me so when I go back to edit I’ll have to do a lot of front-loading to make sure certain things are clear enough to spare readers any WTF moments. 
Susan---Sounds intriguing. Can't wait!

If you could be a character in a book, who would you be?
Well, it’s a toss-up but today I’m feeling a little girly so I’ll say Sin from the Demon’s Lexicon series.  This series by Sarah Rees Brennan is one of my all-time favorites and I love Sin.  She’s tough and smart, and extremely loyal—fierce loyalty gets me every time.  Plus, the girl can dance.

After Comfort and Joy released, how did your life change?
It’s changed a lot and that started even before Comfort and Joy was accepted for publication.  I’ve been a working writer for many years, but this little story was the push I needed to get out into the sea of social media.  In my genre it’s just not practical to expect any level of success without an online presence.  I’ve been active online since 1995 (anyone but me remember BBS?), but this is a completely different deal!  In a little more than six months this introvert has learned to navigate Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and GoodReads, and have gotten into the habit of blogging regularly.  (‘Scuse me while I take a moment to bask in that accomplishment!)  I started doing all this when I sent in my first M/M Erotic Romance submission back in September.  I’ve been a reader in this genre for years and loved how available the authors were, how genuinely happy they seemed to be to interact with readers and now I see why.  It’s fun.
Susan---I think a round of applause....clap-clap-clap.
Besides writing, what else keeps you busy?

I’m a full-time student in an intensive program for Legal Assistants and that keeps me busy.  When I can, in addition to reading (which I do every chance I get) I love to knit and crochet, take long walks fueled by cool jazz in my headphones, play with my furballs (even though they’ve never actually LOL’ed), and hang out with my kiddo.  Whenever I can do any of these things at the beach, I’m extra-happy. 
Susan---You're utterly amazing.. I worked for an attorney in college. The work is not easy. I give you so much credit for taking this educational route. HIGH FIVE TEN
Now for the shorts:
Favorite Number: Odd or even.  Odd, 13 to be precise.

Sports Fan: Loud or Quiet & Stands or Sofa:  Loud! Usually my recliner, but I love going to a football game too.

Ride:    Hardtop or Convertible or Motorcycle or Bicycle:  Dream ride = mid-70s Bay Area-style chopped Knuck or Shovel (Harley Davidson).

Drink: Coffee or Tea:  Coffee!  I’ll take my latte sweet, with cinnamon, nutmeg and a little Dutch cocoa sprinkled on top.

Hike: Mountain or Beach:  Beach.

Pets: Dog or cat or…  Cats—because one is never enough.

Atmosphere: City or country or… Country, as long as I can be a hermit on my own land; if I have to deal with the locals it’s definitely City.

Writing instrument: Pen or computer:  These days it’s a computer; my handwriting has degenerated so horribly I can’t even read it anymore.

Audio: iPod or CD:  I have a cheapie Sansa clip that works just fine – no iAnything for me, thanks.

Thanks so much for having me, Susan!  It was a blast.

COMFORT AND JOY by Charley Descoteaux.

How much love does it take to heal the wounds of hate?


Sam and Charlie have been together over a decade, and their commitment to each other has only grown stronger through the years. But love isn't always easy, and eighteen months after a violent assault, their fairy-tale relationship is still struggling. Charlie can’t shake the lingering fear of attracting more violence by displaying affection, and he's angry at himself for not getting past it. Sam would do anything to help Charlie feel better—if only he knew what that was. 
The century-old farmhouse in Northwest Oregon is the perfect place to spend the holidays with Sam’s family, but it was their refuge after the attack, and it still holds painful memories of those difficult first months. Christmas should be a joyful time, but even being surrounded by people who love him isn’t enough to make Charlie feel safe. He could try to keep to himself, but even if Sam agreed to give him the space he needs, Sam’s warm and loving family might not. And even though they agreed not to exchange gifts, Sam has a surprise up his sleeve that he hopes will make everything merry and bright. But he may end up more surprised than Charlie before the week is out… 
Sam continued up the stairs, considering how to go about putting Charlie’s perfect ass on a piano bench became entangled with the unfortunate fact that as long as they slept upstairs they would be showering separately.  He gave Charlie first chance at the hot water and then sped through his shower as fast as he could.  Sam stopped just inside the bedroom door and closed it quietly.  He toweled his hair and let his gaze linger on Charlie, lying still on top of the quilt, bare feet on the floor, partially covered with a green towel.  A slice of moonlight filtered through the curtain on the opposite wall and across Charlie's body, which was a work of art even when not bathed in romantic mood-lighting.  After a few moments Sam realized Charlie was also watching him. 
Charlie flipped the towel up and away from his body and Sam felt as though someone had just grabbed him by the throat.  After barely a heartbeat’s hesitation he strode to the foot of the bed and leaned over Charlie to kiss him.  Sam’s free hand caressed his slender chest and shoulders.  When he felt goose bumps Sam lowered himself over Charlie but kept all his weight on both knees and one hand.  
Sam moaned softly and moved his dark hand over the fair skin on Charlie’s abs.  He hadn’t regained any of the bulk he’d lost but made up for it with dizzying definition and a solidity he hadn’t had before.   
“Vanilla ice cream.”  Sam began to kiss his way down Charlie’s chest and felt a cool hand on his head exerting a gentle pressure, urging him lower. 
“You’re lactose intolerant.” 
Sam looked up and grinned for a short moment, then slipped down even farther.  “I’ll just have to lick you instead.” 

Charley Descoteaux writes M/M Erotic Romance because watching two regular guys figure out how to be happy makes her happy too.  Every guy deserves a beautiful love story even, or maybe especially, the ones who would otherwise be in the supporting cast. In her worlds you'll find out-of-work teachers, motivational speakers, unknown jazz musicians, and maybe even an undercover colorist.  Home is Portland, Oregon, where the weather is like your favorite hard-case writing buddy who won’t let you get away with taking too many days off, and in some places you can be as weird as you are without fear.  As an out and proud bisexual and life-long weird-o, she thinks that last part is pretty cool.


Buy Links: 

Amazon US: 

Amazon CA: 

Amazon UK: 

Barnes & Noble: 

All Romance eBooks: 



Rattle my cages: 


Facebook Author Page: 





Group Blog, Love Scenes and Wet Dreams:




FINDING HOPE | Pool of Souls Book 2


Warning: The plot thickens with a passel of pissed off Olympians, but Ares and Aphrodite are in for a double dose of trouble! More Olympians join the mix in Finding Hope: Pool of Souls Book 2. A jewel addict, a kick-ass possibly-virgin huntress, and an insatiable ancient oracle are just a few. But don’t worry; Ares and Aphrodite are still front and center.

Addison Connelly has given up on men. She is disappointed yet again when her best friend tries to play matchmaker, and the match falls flat…or does it? Her friend knows all Addison needs is a chance, a little hope, and maybe a dropkick in the right direction. With an extra push from Aphrodite, will this lonely soul learn to trust again? Or will she run from the only man who could make her happy?

Adrian Colter, Nashville Police Detective and certifiable bachelor, puts his foot in his mouth in a big way when his roommate’s fiancé tries to match him up with her best friend. After making a horrible first impression, can he earn the trust of a woman who won’t speak a civil word to him? 

Adrian isn’t the only one trying to earn the trust of a beautiful woman. While Ares fights to rebuild the trust he lost thousands of years ago with the Goddess of Love, his parents do what they do best —show off their greed and selfishness. Will he find the hope and forgiveness he so desperate seeks or will his parents destroy his chance at happiness?


Krystal Shannan Love and Destiny in all Realms

Author of 

Chasing Sam: Vegas Mates Book 1 Amazon | Smashwords | & Others

Open House: Pool of Souls Book 1 Amazon | Smashwords | & Others

A Very Russian Christmas Amazon | Decadent | Smashwords | & Others

Finding Hope: Pool of Souls Book 2 - Coming Soon!

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads


SHUTTER by Rhonda Laurel Book Release Blast

Shutter by Rhonda Laurel
Teaser and then Author Interview
Photographer Antonio De Soto’s life is out of focus. Everyone in his family thinks it’s time for him to settle down. He doesn’t want to be strong-armed into domesticity, even if he does feel the bachelor lifestyle is starting to wear thin. So when his friend invites him to do a pictorial on the community theater, Antonio’s prepared to do his thing and follow his normal womanizing M. O. Instead, he finds himself sparring with the resident artist, Lucy Marceloni. Lucy’s dime-store analysis of his love life—and him—leaves him angry and shaken, but it’s too close to the truth to dismiss. The quirky artist is not his type, but their passionate fights generate a deeper heat between them he can’t ignore…
Lucy wants a man who’s sensitive and intellectual, the exact opposite of Antonio De Soto. The moment she meets the handsome photographer she pegs him as arrogant and self-centered, but that doesn’t protect her from the sizzling chemistry between the two of them. Being drawn to the rogue’s charm and subtle seduction tactics is the last thing she wants. Working with him on the community theater fairytale production could prove to be more than she can handle...

Today is a special day. I'm visiting with author, Rhonda Laurel, and her newest release, SHUTTER is out. Now, let's find out a little bit more about the writer behind Shutter and then we can delve right into your book.
Where were you born Rhonda?
                I was born in the Garden State.  Newark, New Jersey

What subject did you like best in school?    English

When did you first start writing romance?
                I was in college.               
Who is your favorite romance author? What about the author hooked you?
                I have so many favorites!  But Jo Leigh, Ally Blake and Megan Hart are a few of my favorites.   The characters in their books are memorable and I enjoy each author’s writing style.
Who is your favorite antagonist from one of your books? Which book and why?
                I would have to say cousin Charisma from For the Love of the Game.  We briefly see her in action in that novella but the nature of Morgan and Charisma’s combative relationship is explored in MVP.
In your upcoming release of Shutter, who do envision playing the leads?  Give a short bio for the hero and heroine.
                Hmm… Daniel Sunjata would make a great Antonio.   I do not know who would play Lucy. 

Susan---How about this slice of man-cake?

                Antonio is a landscape photographer.  He is the younger brother of Alejandro De Soto (who has his own book too, LOL) and is a bit of nomad.  Antonio wanders around the world taking photographs but has no fixed home.

                Lucy is an artist who owns Accidental Wonderland, an eclectic artsy store.  She is also a set designer for the local community theater.  She is an only child, her parents are dead, but she keeps in touch with her grandmother all the time.
What one song to you associate with Shutter?
                Rhonda -Good question!  Well, Mona Lisa, by Nat King Cole is playing at the café where Antonio and Lucy run into each other.
                Susan-I'm jumping in here. That was a great set-up. There's a lot going on during the first scene in the cafe...from the sandwich Antonio is going to order, to the woman who intrigues him, music, and then your characters meet. You played the buildup just right.

When you’re not writing you are…
                Rhonda- Taking photos or daydreaming.
                Susan-Well, apparently your downtime is feeding your soul or muse. Keep it up because you're on fire with your backlist and future releases.

Now for Rhonda's shorts
Favorite Number: Odd or Even?     Odd
Touch: Leather or Silk?                    Leather
Ride: Hardtop or Convertible?        Hardtop
Sweet: Sugar or honey?                     Sugar
Heat: Sauna or Jacuzzi?                    Jacuzzi
Hike: Mountain or Beach?                Beach
Celestial: Sun or Moon?                    Moon
Pets: Dog or cat?                                Dog
Shoe: Flat or heel? Flat
Atmosphere: City or country? Country
Writing instrument: Pen or computer? Computer
Where do you reside (thoughts/musings):
Present, Past, or Future?                               Future

Susan---Rhonda, I think you're as ecclectic as your heroine is and I'm so not surprised. No one could peg you into a predefined category. LOL! Okay, it's time to learn more about your new release.

          After a smooth cab ride to Felix’s apartment, Antonio let himself in with the key Felix had given him and dropped off his things. He was hungry and Felix wouldn’t be home until six. He strolled the main street, camera in hand, eyeing some of the changes in the decor in the store windows since his last visit. Then he stumbled upon the café Metro Eatery, went inside, and parked himself at the counter.

            The sound of Nat King Cole’s song “Mona Lisa” oozing out of the sound system immediately put him at ease. He read the menu, although he already knew he wanted. The roast beef on rye was a favorite of his, but what was making his mouth water was a slender woman with long, flowing red hair sitting at a table reading a fashion magazine. He imagined her name was Simone or some other sexy name that started with an S. Something seductive that made you want to say it over and over in throes of passion. Simone smiled and dropped her gaze back down to the magazine. Ah, the game begins.
            Wasn’t this his problem? Meeting random women and having brief affairs? Well, it was according to every woman in his life. His mother constantly asked him when he was going to settle down. Yesenia kept sending him e-books to read about fear of commitment, and Lauren just sighed when he pooh-poohed her inspirational talks about finding his soul mate. He wasn’t sure he bought into that, the idea that there was one person in the world who was meant to be with him. It could have been his hound dogging that had him jaded, but then the disproof of his theory would pop into his mind. Alejandro was evidence that there was no curse of the De Soto men, just choices that one continually makes until you find someone that fits into those ragged grooves on the side of your body.

            A woman seated on the other side of the counter broke him out of his daydream. She seemed to be laughing to herself but looked in his direction. He turned his attention to her. She looked up from her paper and shook her head.

            “Hi,” he said, smiling.

             She didn’t answer.
            Determined not to be ignored, he leaned over and said it again. “Hi.”
            She didn’t look up from her paper.
            “I was wondering what you thought was so funny,” he said, a little louder.
            Once she put down the paper, he saw a pair of glasses teetering on the edge of her nose. The first thing he noticed was her face. It was round but not too round and she had a cleft in her chin. Which made him think of something dirty he’d said one time to this woman he dated who had a cleft in her chin. Though he thought this prim woman sitting across from him with a scarf wrapped twice around her neck wouldn’t find his limerick even remotely funny. She seemed no-nonsense, but her pretty brown eyes were warm and inviting.
            “I was just thinking, I haven’t seen a mating ritual like that since watching the Animal Channel. It would be simpler to just go over there and sniff her, and then maybe the hamburger I just ate wouldn’t come back up from watching the two of you.” She smiled.
            Antonio knew he shouldn’t say the first thing that popped into his head. That she was jealous he wasn’t flirting with her. The angelic red-haired aberration and the wisecracking scarf woman were as different as night and day. Scarf woman had on overalls, for heaven’s sakes! She was essentially covered from head to toe, looking more like a vagabond than a grown woman whose age he couldn’t determine.
            “It’s just human nature, I suppose.” He glanced back at the woman sitting at the table. “We all have a mating dance. Some are more obvious than others.”
            “Some are more sickening than others.” Scarf woman shook her head.
            “Whore,” she shot back at him.
            “Did you actually just call me a whore? You don’t even know me.” He laughed, put his hand on his chest, and feigned indignation.
            “I don’t have to know you. What you are is written all over your face.” She smirked.
            Antonio knew he was headed down the wrong road with this fireball. But what the hell. He had time to kill until Felix came home.
            He ordered quickly when the waitress appeared, then turned his attention back to the scarf woman. “OK, tell me all about myself,” he said with a devilish smile.
            Scarf woman took a deep breath and closed her eyes. “You are a narcissist, who is probably the baby of the family. Always got what you wanted and is never in short supply of women. The camera is your ruse to lure women into your tacky web of seduction. Little do they know that they are just a prop for your entertainment. I bet you could bat those pretty, light-brown eyes and get any woman to do as you please. And that is thrilling to you. Knowing you can gain such immediate control over some unsuspecting bimbo’s life so easily.”
            Antonio said sweetly, “So you think my eyes are pretty?”
            “I rest my case.” She smiled and slid off her stool. If she was trying to make a graceful exit, that went down the toilet. Scarf woman had bags and a huge purse. When her feet firmly touched the floor he could see she was much shorter than him.
            “You have a good day,” he said, half sorry to see her go. “And your name is?” He was sure Felix would have seen this weird creature flitting around town.
            “I was just born yesterday. Don’t have a name yet,” she said as she walked out of the café.
            Antonio laughed, thinking that women like that would forever be angry with the Simones of the world. With her crazy colorful overalls, that damn double-wrapped scarf, and the cluster of bags she juggled, this woman obviously didn’t want anyone to see her. Still, he felt compelled to pick up his camera and snap her picture as she turned right out the door and walked past the window. And he had seemingly forgotten all about his angelic aberration Simone sitting at the table. He’d been so enthralled with his conversation with the scarf lady that he hadn’t even seen her leave.

Available on
Barnes and Noble
All Romance


Rhonda Laurel

Rhonda Laurel is a contemporary romance writer whose two great loves are writing and landscape photography. She uses both as a vehicle to convey the complexity of the human spirit and the beauty of the world around her. Her writing career has spanned two decades but has recently gained momentum in 2012 with her debut novella Ebb Tide. Contemporary, multicultural/interracial romance is her ‘thing’ in the form of novellas and novels, but the author also writes poetry, inspirational quotes, designs greeting cards and the occasional essay. Ebb Tide, For the Love of the Game, Masquerade were released in 2012. Shutter will be released February 22, 2013. Star Crossed and Memories of You are scheduled for 2013. The author is happily building her backlist.
Out Now!
Ebb Tide
Masquerade/Halloween Heat Anthology VI
For the Love of the Game

Coming Soon! Shutter - Release date February 22, 2013

Memories of You - Tentative release date March 2013
Star Crossed - Release date 2013


My recommendation for the holidays!

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