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Cut and Print

Today I finished final edits and revisions for Kiss Me By Moonlight. Here’s the blurb for the conclusion of Lacey and Dylan’s story:

Hey there. It’s Lacey again. Falling in love and landing Dylan hasn’t been the panacea I thought it would be. For starters, he moved into my apartment without asking, and he continues to have no respect for my need to have things in sets of six. Pile that on top of my emotional upheaval after losing my stepfather, and you have a recipe for disaster no amount of German chocolate cake can cure.

Yes, Lacey Hallem’s life remains fraught with challenge, but you know she’s a fighter. Forming a talent management agency with her best friends has been the best career move she’s ever made—even if it’s the only thing currently working according to plan. Lacey’s OCD is getting the better of her, and this time her hands aren’t the only casualty. When her lies ruin her relationships with both Kiss Me Goodnight and Dylan, she’s forced to confront her demons in ways she’s never had to before. As she once again faces her past, can she learn once and for all to let love and friendship through the barriers she’s built?

Both harrowing and hilarious, this conclusion to the tale of Lacey and Dylan will leave you laughing, crying, and fanning yourself—sometimes all at once. Michele Zurlo triumphs again in this moving story about life’s quirks and what we all have to do to get by.

Coming Soon!

Can’t wait for this one!

E. Ayers Weblog

I have another River City book that will be releasing some time in May. I’ve got my cover, but a few friends have mentioned that they want more to the title. That’s actually an easy fix. So tell me what you think, Should it be Campaign or Campaign for Love ? My New Cover

He’s campaigning for mayor and for her love, and she’s campaigning for his acceptance and for him to become mayor.

I loved writing the story and I’m very excited that it’s almost ready for release. Which is actually pretty typical at this stage. The book is still with my editor. As soon as it comes back, I tend to fall into some sort of pit when I look at all my mistakes. I swear I know the difference between there and their, so why did I screw it up in my manuscript? And why didn’t I spot it when…

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Don’t Stay

lesbian-same-sex-marriageI’m married, but I’m not. Michigan is one of those states run by Republicans intent on cutting funding to education and wasting tax dollars appealing an amendment to the State Constitution passed ten years ago that wouldn’t even make it to the ballot today. Polling shows that fighting the legalization of same-sex marriage is not popular. Most Americans (59%) support same-sex marriage. Even though 24% oppose it, 17% don’t care either way. That’s pretty high support, especially when you consider that only 86% of Americans support interracial marriage. [In the deep South, 29% oppose interracial marriage.]

 

So how does this relate to my situation? Governor Snyder, a supposed “businessman who stays out of social issues”, has decided to recognize that my marriage was legal, but deny the rights that should come with it. It’s an election year, and I think he’s trying to stay above a messy social issue, but he’d managed to position himself solidly against equal rights. As Atty Gen Eric Holder has the political balls to recognize my marriage, we will get Federal benefits. If I die, Suzy gets my Social Security. Good to know I haven’t paid into it for 26 years for nothing. There are about 1000 legal protections we still currently lack.

 

Here are some things we have to do now that we wouldn’t have to do if we had legal recognition from our state:Supreme court gay marriage

1. I have to write a note every year to keep on file at the pediatrician so that Suzy can take our kids to the doctor and make medical decisions.

2. We’ve had to write legal protections into our wills that specifically state who gets the kids, the house, etc, in the event one of us should die. This will can be contested by any of our family members and tied up indefinitely in court–because we don’t have legal status as a married couple.

3. We have to pay $400 extra/month for health care. If she were able to be on my health insurance plan, it wouldn’t cost a dime extra since I already pay for the family plan.

4. Depending on the hospital, we can’t stay with one another past visiting hours.

5. I can be fired from my job at any time simply for being a lesbian, and that’s a perfectly legal, legitimate reason.

Everybody I’ve talked to thinks Schuette and Snyder should let this go, even people who likely voted for the ban in 2003. My friend’s daughter, when told of our marriage, said, “Why wasn’t is always legal? That’s just stupid.”

 

Images from:

Wedding toppers: http://butteryobread.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/same-sex-marriage-in-2012-a-political-and-civil-rights-movement/

A Right Denied: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/20/supreme-court-same-sex-marriage-ruling

Getting Married (March 22)

Warning: This is totally not related to being Michele Zurlo or writing romance novels, and it is not very succinct.

safe_image.phpOn Friday, Judge Friedman overturned Michigan’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. I was playing Candy Crush while I contemplated grading 7th grade essays. My phone rang, and I answered (which is amazing that I 1) heard the phone and 2) answered. People have learned that I’m not glued to my phone.) It was my buddy Eric (who I’ve mentioned in the dedication of several novels) who is also ordained to marry people. He’d been talking to me all week about what we needed to do when the time came. Eric dropped the good news on me, and told me to keep him informed because he’d drop everything as soon as our application was approved. The County Clerk was closed, and Michigan has a 3-day waiting period. Immediately I texted Suzy (who was out walking the dog) to tell her the news and to ask her to marry me. (In case you’re wondering, it was an immediate YES.)

I cannot tell you how happy we were. Together 18.5 years, we have two lovely children and an adorable dog (and a cranky cat) together. We’ve build a life in the open, living in the district where I teach and sending our kids to schools where lots of people know us. In a lot of ways, we’re insulated from the Republican hate (though that wasn’t always so; a former principal tried hard to fire me when I got pregnant with my kids) and vitriol. The more people know us, the more accepting they seem to be of the LGBT community. I’m not the only person “out” at my building, and we’re not the only lesbian parents in the district. Suzy, a stay-at-home-mom, is a very active parent volunteer in the twins’ elementary school.

Finally, we were going to be able to have the same rights–and not have to pay double for health care–as everybody else. Many friends called and texted good wishes Friday night.

I’m an early riser, so Saturday dawned bright and early. Another friend had left a question on FB asking me if we were going to the County Clerk’s office to get married. In Michigan, you have to be a resident of a county in order to apply for a license. I replied that our clerk wasn’t open, then I checked and found that Oakland County was one of 4 in the state that was holding special Saturday hours. I woke up my wife-to-be. [Funny aside: I burst into the bedroom, yelling “honey!” She thought something was wrong with one of the kids, so she leapt up,  still half-asleep, looking around for the problem. She was relieved when I told her that the kids were fine, and we could get a license this morning instead of having to wait until Monday.] We’d been civil-unioned in Vermont 11  years ago, but that wasn’t recognized in our home state. This was a momentous occasion. My bride braved waking her parents before 11 am (it was 8:30) in order to find her birth certificate. Her dad (mid-70’s) was thrilled and ransacked the house to find it. Her mom even woke up to help. (This is a woman I’ve never seen before 2:30 pm.)

We went down, expecting to just file for a license. Imagine our joy when we found out they were waiving the waiting period and performing weddings on the spot. As we waited in line, we debated whether we had the right to ask Eric (and Melissa, who was to be my maid-of-honor) to come down to the courthouse and perform the nuptials. As they were texting us every few minutes (and we found out later the two of them had been up since 7 am trying to coordinate what was going to happen and when), we asked if they wanted to come up. They dropped everything to be there within an hour. The fact that Melissa had her hair and makeup done (on a weekend) meant she’d been ready for the call.

While waiting in line, another friend sent this picture:

Image

She wanted to know if this was me. I wish I had her ability to see stuff this small. At first I just said I was there. Later, I realized that, yes, I am in the picture. Someone had posted it on a FB site that was a proponent of gay marriage, and her husband had shown her the photo. In case you’re wondering, I’m in the center of the photo, right by the red line, behind the woman in the white sweatshirt. I am wearing a black shirt and carrying a maroon coat. If you look even closer, you can see my bride’s head sticking out from behind the baldish-man texting on his phone in the foreground. We’re talking to the gay couple behind us. Nice guys from Berkeley who hope being able to be legally married will help them adopt a child. (Best of luck guys–people who want kids that badly deserve to have them!) Our kids are sitting on the ledge under the window, glued to their books. My nerds.

While we waited, friends and family texted and called. Both our mothers have health problems that prevented them from being able to drop everything to be there, which was fine. We didn’t even know we were going to get married until we’d been in line for a half hour. We talked to a reporter from Fox 2 News, though we didn’t watch to see if our clip made the final cut. I’m sure it didn’t. I rambled like a nervous idiot, and I’m sure nobody could cobble a good sound bite out of it.

So Eric and Melissa made it soon after we’d filed the application. Eric, in his tuxedo T-shirt, performed the ceremony. It was touching and sweet, and we all cried at least a little. Melissa was our videographer, photographer, witness, maid-of-honor, and all around good friend. After some paperwork and $50 more spent, we had our licenses.

After that, we went out to lunch together, and then we met up with other friends to see Divergent. At dinner that night, we found out that the Court of Appeals had issued a stay until Wednesday. That means our marriage had been temporarily invalidated until they could decide whether they wanted to permanently invalidate it. The judge who issued the stay mentioned that he wanted to give Michigan’s Attorney General, an a-hole by the name of Schuette who thinks it’s his duty to persecute the LGBT community for wanting the same rights accorded to everybody else, time to really think about whether he should waste taxpayer dollars with an appeal. Over 300 couples were married in the 4 counties that opened their doors to us on Saturday, almost half of them in Oakland County. Friends of our who live in neighboring Livingston County were not able to get married this weekend. They’d planned to take Monday off, but now those plans are on hold.

That is the story of my weekend (and why I haven’t graded any 7th grade essays). I will keep you posted on this issue (and how it affects me) as it develops. If you live in Michigan, contact Schuette and your local representatives and senators and Governor Snyder to tell them that you want them to let this ruling stand. Schuette’s website says he’s the people’s voice for victims, but in this case, he’s the one victimizing innocents. People are a lot more educated about LGBT than they were 10 years ago when this travesty of an amendment was passed, and most Michigan residents are in favor of marriage equality.

Status Update

I just pressed “send” on the preliminary revisions for Kiss Me Goodnight. I’m so excited about this new series! I have to share a couple of lines with you:

“My name is Lacey Hallem, and it’s been sixty-seven minutes since my last lie.”

“I’d walked out on two men in one day. Both encounters had left me tingling, and neither was likely to result in anything. Hell of a Monday.”

Stay tuned for more!

Fun Facts about Sureal Neal

1. I took the title from a friend’s fake Neil Diamond cover band. (Funny story there: I was at work talking to another teacher. She commented on the fact that she hadn’t known our friend was a Neil Diamond fan. I said we both were huge fans–I’d skipped classes in college to score concert tickets, and he was in a Neil Diamond cover band. Later my friend came by laughing, said he’d corroborated my story by telling her the band was called Surreal Neil. The other teacher still doesn’t know it wasn’t true.)

2. Neal created himself. I originally had him there as a temporary fling character, but he turned out to be so much more.

3. The scene where Neal meets someone from his past and comes to terms with it was inserted when my beta readers demanded the topic be addressed. They really gave great advice.

4. Hanging On was originally written in 1st person, and I liked it a lot better that way. When I get the rights back, I’ll probably rewrite it back into 1st person before I re-release it. Surreal Neal only worked when I wrote in 1st person. When I submitted Surreal Neal to Siren, I put a note on it that said I wasn’t willing to change it to 3rd person, and that I’d understand if they didn’t want to publish it. They wanted it anyway.

5. The epilogue overlaps with the timeline where the Two Masters for Samantha sequel begins. In Their Hearts is due out from Siren in December 2013. Stay tuned–it’s very different from the first one.

6. While Sophia is loosely based on somebody I know, and Drew is an amalgam of Food Network chefs, Neal is completely my creation. Except his name–that came up in a Yahoo search. I didn’t read the article, but I liked the name, so I used it. I don’t remember what I was searching for…

7. I finally reached a point where I had to create a notebook to hold information on Awakenings characters. I officially have too many characters to keep in my head. It was getting a little crowded in there. (Surreal Neal is book #20 for me, but I’ve written 21, 22, and 23.)

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