As the 2013 Tony Awards drew to a close, I sat there, on the couch, thinking to myself how wonderful it would be to be in the audience and witness the best of the best on Broadway get awarded for their hard work.
And then I thought to myself - well, why can't I?
Hence, my ultimate trip to NYC started being planned. I got online with my BFF of 30-some-odd years and said "Let's celebrate being fabulous and 40 in our Mecca." Having never traveled together, and with our birthdays a mere 35 days apart, we figured it would be the perfect trip.
I spent a year conversing with old friends in New York, surfing for places to stay, and eagerly awaiting the moment that the 2014 Tony tickets went on sale. I planned and researched and bought tickets and would spend hours dreaming and plotting the ultimate birthday trip.
The day I was to fly out of Toronto to New York was a sunny one. I was packed, prepped and had everything in place.
I checked in to my flight the night before. Done.
My stomach was a bundle of nerves as I approached the airport. In the last 20 years, I'd only ever driven across the border. It was to be a short flight - and I loved flying - but I was still apprehensive. I tend to babble and say the wrong thing at the most inopportune times.
I got my boarding pass and was eagerly anticipating passing through customs so I could finally have a coffee - which I opted not to get before going through because handling a hot coffee and two bags was a juggling task I would not have excelled at.
The first round of customs couldn't clear me. I couldn't figure out why, but wasn't phased. I went to the second stage. And I waited. And I watched the clock. And I waited some more. I wasn't worried. There was still plenty of time to catch my flight. Finally, my name was called. I went up, I was respectful. I answered all the questions asked of me truthfully and honestly. They took my fingerprints, which, again, didn't set off any bells, as I hadn't flown into the US post 9/11 as of yet, so I didn't think it was a bad thing.
Until my luggage tag was ripped off my suitcase. Well, to me that just meant I was going to miss my flight and I would catch the next one out. No big deal. I refused to panic. This was my vacation and it was going to be glorious.
And then the customs officer said those words.
"I'm sorry, but we cannot allow you to enter the United States."
I fell to my knees, my eyes welling up with tears, and my breath refusing to come. A year of planning, of even GOING to the US periodically, and suddenly I wasn't allowed? I didn't understand.
The culprit was two shoplifting charges from TWENTY YEARS AGO. According to the US border patrol, these are crimes of "moral turpitude" and as such would prevent me from entering the country.
Yes, I do have those charges on me. But, as I pointed out, they were TWENTY YEARS AGO. They occurred during a pretty dark time in my life. I've been clear ever since. For God's sake, I've been coming and going from the United States at least once a year for the last twenty. But because I flew, they now are aware of this charge, and I am no longer allowed to enter.
I begged to speak to a supervisor. I pleaded with tears running down my face, and my breath coming in sobs. But she wouldn't allow me to. She just said that the answer would be the same, and sent me on my way.
After informing my travel companion (who was leaving the next day) of the problem, she came and got me and took me to the US Consulate. Where I was informed that only the border patrol can take care of this issue.
A call to a lawyer who specializes in this, and $300 later (for the phone consultation), he offered to file a parole form on my behalf, but it would cost $1500 to do that, and another $1500 if he succeeded. Well, there was no way I could afford that. So, I did what every grown up would do - I printed out my receipts for my Tony tickets, the correspondence with the Broadway Across America people (for the Tony tickets) and my credit card statement as well. And then my mother and I drove down to the border, hoping to find someone who was willing to listen.
When I managed to speak to someone, I was informed that the parole forms the lawyer was talking about were only issued for humanitarian reasons - ie/ a family member dying or dead in the US and a funeral to attend. I almost lost all hope, but the gentleman was willing to listen, and to speak to his supervisor. It then went one level higher, and after three hours of pleading my case, examination of my documents and discussion, I was allowed to go. I had a parole for the length of my trip, plus a day in case there were return travel issues.
I was incredibly grateful. This trip meant the world to me, and I would be able to see one of my dreams come true.
But now, if I ever want to travel to the US again, I need to get what is called a waiver. Which involves gathering my court records (again, twenty years old), a background check, a fingerprint card, a written statement from me about how I've "rehabilitated" (like all this time without incident isn't enough), and $585 US. Once I have all that, it has to be approved. This process could take anywhere from six to twelve months, AND the waiver could be valid from one month to five years. Which means that whenever they decide it's up, I have to do it ALL. OVER. AGAIN.
What equals to two misdemeanors in the US means I have this label on me for the rest of my life, unless I manage to secure a pardon. And apparently those can only come from the President or a US governor. Never mind that a pardon in Canada means NOTHING to them.
So that means no more weekend trips with the family to Buffalo for shopping. No more trips to Disney or anywhere in Florida, where the memories of good times with my father are very strong and prevalent. No trips to catch a musical on Broadway, or even to see good friends.
Meanwhile, there are shootings all over the United States, people sneaking over the border from Mexico, and people with WORSE criminal records than mine being let in on a daily basis.
If I had just driven to Buffalo or taken the bus to NYC, this wouldn't be an issue. As I've pointed out, I've been down and back at least once a year for the last twenty. But because I decided to fly, my entire traveling future is limited.
I think the United States government has a lot more to worry about than a person who made two little mistakes. My government has chosen to look past it. My employers have chosen to look past it, recognizing that while I wasn't technically a child, I was still young, and learning my way in the world.
So, now I have to decide if it's worth it at all. And there's a part of me saying no. But then I remember all the good times I might be missing out on, and the memorable places I'll never get to see again. And then that part of me says yes.
Friday, June 13, 2014
As the 2013 Tony Awards drew to a close, I sat there, on the couch, thinking to myself how wonderful it would be to be in the audience and witness the best of the best on Broadway get awarded for their hard work.
Fantasized by Miz Angell at 12:20 PM
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
It's time for Round 4 of Alison's Smut Marathon. For those of you that have been playing along, I've managed - through the grace of God and lovely voters - to stay in the game.
For those who haven't, well, here are links to the first three rounds. Obviously voting is over, but don't deprive yourself of some wonderful reading.
Round One - Once Upon A Time challenge. Pen an opening line. Just one. We all know how important that opening line can be when grabbing a readers attention.
Round Two - Take two. Using a line from the previous challenge, one other than your own, pen a 250 word story start. The line didn't have to be the opening one, just as long as it was in there. Talk about tough!
Round Three - The musical challenge. To write 300 words inspired by a song, any song, but not to reveal what it was (silly me - my song title wound up being the title of the piece - D'OH!)
And now here we are at Round Four. For this round, Alison gave us this story as inspiration. There is no summing it up - well, I'll try anyway. Cindy Sherman, artist, found this note card in a trove of old photos that she had bought in a junk shop some years ago. It's an interesting card, a telling of a lovers deception discovered before her marriage was to take place.
Her challenge was for us to pen a "notecard" that would intrigue someone enough to keep it around for almost a century, to be found by a treasure hunter, such as Cindy.
So go on over, take a look, and as you read, imagine which one you would pick up years later, and wonder...
what's the story behind the note?
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
About the Author:
Friday, May 16, 2014
Well, not the way you're thinking. Not yet anyway. :P
What I mean is, it's time to brag. Once again, Alison Tyler has seen fit to include me in one of her amazing projects.
Back in 2008 (wow - has it really been THAT long?), a snippet of mine appeared in her guide for couples Never Have the Same Sex Twice. The book was intended to use as a tool to put the spark back in the bedroom. There were stories from amazing authors such as Sommer Marsden, Thomas S. Roche, Jeremy Edwards, and Kristina Lloyd, to go with chapters of advice from the number one Trollop - Alison herself.
It was in such great demand that she decided to do another one. This time around, Never Say Never picks up where the first left off...which was somewhere off the beaten path. Alison is a huge believer in the practice of monogamous kink, which is to say that just because you're with the same partner, it doesn't mean that you have to keep having the same sex. (Hence the titles). Like it's predecessor, it's not a step-by-step guide on what to do, but rather advice on how to let your imagination guide you and your partner into some incredibly sexy scenarios. And, following the tips, an erotic example (fictitious of course *wink wink*) of what can be done.
Amazing authors such as Sommer Marsden, Kristina Lloyd, Shanna Germain, Thomas S. Roche, and Teresa Noelle Roberts, along with a host of others (I wrote hots initially, because, really I do have the hots for them all - they're brilliant!), make up the TOC this time around.
I'm incredibly proud to say that I'm not just a snippet in this book, but I'm a whole story! My contribution Bring Me the Dark, is included in the chapter on Exhibitionism.
Here's a little taste (tee-hee - you'll get the joke in a minute)
“Mrs. Miller? Welcome to Le Chat Noir.” My panties got damp. Dining in the dark. The newest trend at the hottest spot in town. She put my hand on her shoulder and led me inside the pitch black room. I could hear others around us, chewing, talking, and giggling softly. Without my sight, it was kind of scary, but very sensual at the same time.
“Stand here for just one moment please.” I felt an absence of presence, if that makes any sense. I realized it was dark, but it felt like everyone was staring at me anyway. I felt very vulnerable. It must have only been a few seconds, but it seemed like forever until a pair of unseen hands grasped my waist and guided me into a chair.
“I hope you don’t mind.” Daniel’s breath was warm on my ear. “I took the liberty of ordering for you.” His voice was husky and had my heart doing flip flops. “Of course I don’t mind. Daniel, this is ...”
He cut me off with a kiss. A tender, moist, slow kiss that had my toes curling. A wine glass was pressed into my hand. The full bodied liquid trickled down my throat, and I felt around for the table. After placing it down, and making sure it was far enough away from the edge, I reached out, sensing Daniel’s body heat. My hand landed high up on his thigh, and he placed it higher, allowing me to feel his hard cock beneath his dress pants.
My pussy twitched. “Thank you for the lovely lingerie. It’s very beautiful.” His voice was knowing and evil. “Oh it’s more than beautiful my dear. It’s got a dual purpose.”
I gasped as my clit began pulsing. So that’s what the disc inside was. He bought me vibrating panties. And obviously, he had the remote.
I almost came right then and there. The pulsing changed to a light steady vibe, and then shut off. "Surprise.” I heard the waiter come up behind me.
“Please make sure the area in front of you is clear. Scallops for your appetizer.” His hand brushed against the side of my breast as he set the plate down. My body tingled in a way that had absolutely nothing to do with the remote control.
Now, I'm not an official blog-tour stop, so for those, head on over to - yep, you guessed it - Alison's blog and start from the very beginning. *grin* For us Canucks, I can't think of a better way to start the long weekend. Yes, the long weekend. An extra day to stay in bed and...
well, if you need ideas, check out the book.
Monday, May 5, 2014
And at the end of round three, I'm still on the island!
Thanks to all who came out and voted. (All three of you - heh)
I wound up in a three-way with the oh-so-sexy Poetic Desires and Kal Colbalt. Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to another three-way group: Beck Fletcher, Jade A. Waters, and Senda Selgado. Follow the links - check 'em out. (Beck and Senda are newbies, but if they decide to send me links, I shall update).
If you were able to figure it out - my inspirational tune was Empire State of Mind (not very hard - I forgot to give it a different title, which is what happens when you forget about deadlines). While I like the Jay-Z/Alicia Keys duet, I prefer this version of the song, from the lovely songstress.
New York is on my mind lately. In 29 days I leave for the city that never sleeps for a week of checking items off my bucket list. Now, will the particular scenario I wrote about be checked off? Not a chance. But it is up there. Maybe one day....
In the mean time, while y'all are waiting for Round Four, there's a ton of stuff going on in the erotic blogosphere.
Sommer Marsden just released two amazing books back to back - The Accidental Cougar, which she is currently blog-touring with (Day one is here - you'll find some fascinating stuff so follow along) and Poster Boy for Average. Y'all know I love Sommer, and I can guarantee you'll love her books - that is, if you haven't picked any of them up yet, and if not, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Here's her author page at Amazon. Close your eyes and click, and you're bound to pick a winner, no matter what. And since she's always writing, there's new stories coming from her all the time, whether it's short stories in anthologies, or novellas, or full length oh-my-god-did-she-really-just-write-that novels. She's a superwoman, dealing not just with her writing career, but a full personal life full of pitfalls and reality-sucking situations. She truly is a marvel. (follow on twitter @sommer_marsden)
Alison Tyler is EVERYWHERE these days. And I'm not just saying that because she's one of the best authors and editors in the genre. Her book Dark Secret Love won the Gold Ippy for Erotica! (Category 46 if you're checking it out). She was also mentioned briefly in Variety's piece on NewsCorp buying out Harlequin (Oh dear....). She was also interviewed for the Huffington Post! And there's always a ton of fun stuff going on over at her blog Trollop With A Laptop. Not only the Smut Marathon - which is turning into a yearly thing - but she's always running another contest or two. She now has a new feature on her blog for Mondays - Trollop with a Question. The woman always comes up with a fun, intriguing question to ask her readers and friends. There's also another new feature called Eat Me (yes it sounds naughty, but it's really not, unless you're doing stuff with your food that maybe is kinky or ...). Not to mention she's always pimping out new writers, or Etsy stores, or music....(I can't tell you how many artists I never would have thought to listen to before Alison brought them to my attention). I could gush for hours about her generous soul and wonderful life-affirming spirit. But I won't. Just visit and follow the woman, will ya? (follow on twitter @AlisonTyler).
Stranded In Toronto is right in my backyard, and is a gem. Not just erotica, it provides amazing stories in other genres such as humor, sci-fi and horror. Not to mention he's just funny and sexy as hell to follow on twitter. (follow @stranded_in_to)
Author H.K. Kiting offers all sorts of services on SexyFic.com. NOT THOSE KINDS OF SERVICES. Geeze. Once in awhile the brain has to come out of the gutter. Anyway, there's not just a slew of free sexy reads under the categories BDSM, Breath Control, Gay, Lesbian and Straight, but there's also editing services and podcasts for writers. (follow on twitter @HKKiting)
Over at poison pen/dirty mind, author Oleander Plume offers free reads and excerpts from her short stories she's published in such amazing anthologies as Best Women's Erotica 2014 and The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance. Not to mention she's incredibly funny. (follow on twitter @OleanderPlume)
AND there's more. If you check out my sidebar, there's a list of blogs that I follow that are incredible. People like Violet Blue, who's not just an amazing erotic author and editor, but also writes for CNET, Zero Day, ZDNet, and CBS News. She's a foremost expert in sex and technology. (follow on twitter @violetblue).
Following any of those lovely people on twitter will also lead you to a plethora of other amazing authors and experts to follow.
As for me, well, stay tuned here. I know I keep saying that I'm going to post more, and I fully intend to. Personal matters have kept me from posting more of my writing, but I am self-censoring no more.
Onward and upward, and I'll see y'all really soon!
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Ok hotties and heaux. It's time to vote in Round Three of Alison Tylers Smut Marathon.
This one was a hell of a challenge. Not only was it 300 words - max! - but she asked to use a piece of music that inspires us.
I have a LOT of music that inspires me to write. But to keep it to 300 words is a real problem sometimes. That's when you use the KISS rule - keep it simple stupid. LOL.
So head on over - read them all (they're all seriously hot stuff so maybe reading at work isn't the best idea), and then choose your favourite.
If you know me, you can figure out which one is mine, but only vote if it's your favourite.
Follow the link for sexy snippets of song-inspired smut.
The pic is from Women's Health Mag. Figured it might play into the theme....and hey, let's talk. Do you agree with these?
Monday, March 31, 2014
This has nothing to do with sex. But I need to rant somewhere, and by the little page views I get, unless I'm pimping out Sommer or Alison, this seems the safest place. This is about being positive, sort of.
These days, whenever anyone gets lousy customer service, the first instinct is to complain. After all, how can the company improve if they don't know where they're going wrong, right? And there's always the chance that the complainer will get something for free - which, let's be honest, is the main goal in today's society. But there's also the chance that someone could lose their job over that complaint. We're all human, we have bad days.
But it is a rare occasion to be sure, that someone sends management a letter, or makes a phone call, with a compliment if something is done right. If you're in a store and a clerk goes out of their way to find something in the back for you, or if you're in a restaurant and your server makes absolutely certain that there's no onions in your dish, because of an allergy or an aversion, or if they give your kids extra chocolate sauce on their sundae, their management should know about it.
Or when you bring your children to an event, and the usher points out something that the kids would love, and might otherwise miss with everything else going on.
Those people need to be commended. Yes, it's their job, but it's the attention to detail, it's the way they do their job, that needs to be known. Their supervisors, the venue - they need to know that these people aren't just phoning it in. It could actually make the difference in them keeping their jobs at contract renewal time. Not everyone is unionized. Third party contractors, such as those at a hockey arena, rely on contracts. And while it's most always a money issue, sometimes if the venue management knows what a great job their ushers, security, or food and beverage cashiers are doing, they might just re-consider the money.
This is currently happening to me. One of my other jobs, in my "non-writing" life is that of a security guard. And we work at one of the city's hockey venues. I've been there for ten years. So have two of my supervisors and a lot of our guards and ushers have been there three years or longer. We are not paid amazing money, by any stretch of today's standards. But we don't do it for the money. We do it for the fans. For the building. For the friends that we have chosen as family.
The building owners preach the importance of teamwork, and tell us that the whole building is one big family. That our fans are a part of that and we have to give them a family experience. But my company is third party. In this "family" we're the fifth-cousin-on-Aunt-Cindy's-husbands-side-twice-removed. In other words, we're not a consideration. But we are the only ones who will not throw each other under the bus to get ahead. We are the only department in that venue that has each other's backs - and everyone else's. There isn't one department that we don't help out. We cover up and deal with mistakes from every department, from sales to game crew to food and beverage. And yet, when there's a screw up, security is the first department to get thrown under that bus. Whether we're implementing building protocol and following their rules, it doesn't matter. As soon as there's a complaint, it's automatically shoved on us.
And we take it with a smile. We put up with abuse and accusations, and we have no champion on the corporate side. But for eight years under the current owners, we've persevered. We've worked ourselves to death every November for ten days straight to pull off the annual event there without a hitch.
We go above and beyond for our fans, not for recognition, but because it's what we love to do. The season ticket holders are considered family. We do so much more for them because we love to see them smile. Even if people are only there for one game, it is our mission to make sure they get the most possible enjoyment out of it. Whether it's showing the kids the best spot to stand to get high fives from the players, or bringing a kid across to sit on the zamboni so his dad can get a picture of it, to see the smiles on their faces is such a joy. And it's not like it's in our job description to do it either.
And when sales crams us with double the maximum amount of kids for our fans tunnels (despite knowing what the max IS), so much so that it becomes a safety issue, we smile and deal. When they double book a zamboni ride and don't tell us, we smile and deal. When they misdirect the post-game rental to one side of the arena instead of the other, we smile and deal.
Because we love our jobs. We love the building. For some of us, the start of hockey season means coming home.
Now, at the end of the month, we're losing our home. Another company is coming in. And I know that this is the type of things that happen. But if just one person per game in the last eight years had sent head office a complement, a little note saying "So and so, our usher, made the game amazing for us." Or "So and so in security made us feel right at home by doing this...", maybe we wouldn't be losing it.
Now, we don't have another contract where our ushers can work at, so chances are we won't be seeing them again. One of my supervisors, who has been like a second dad to me, this was the only building he ran, so I doubt we'll be seeing him. And with the rest of us scattered across the city, the odds of us seeing each other with such frequency as we do now, are a thousand to one.
And the fans that we work with? We can kiss that part of the family good-bye. I've been crying over this for a month now. And as the days tick down to our final event, my heart breaks every time I walk into that building. I know all good things must come to an end, but we've put our hearts and souls into that building, where the rest of the departments just do it for a paycheck.
So the next time someone goes above and beyond to make your experience, whether it's eating, shopping, or at an event, a better one, do them a favor. Acknowledge it with their management. Let them know what an awesome job that person did.
You'll never know the difference it will make.