“Beautiful story told with sensitivity and grace.” Reviews: Smoky Mountain Dreams by Leta Blake

“Beautiful story told with sensitivity and grace. A difficult subject approached with truth and honesty while including lots of hot m/m romance. I can’t decide who I love best. Would love to see where their story goes from here.”

via Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Smoky Mountain Dreams.

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Sometimes holding on means letting go

After giving up on his career as a country singer in Nashville, Christopher Ryder is happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee. But while his beloved Gran loves him the way he is, Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. Even when he’s center stage he aches for someone to see the real him.

Bisexual Jesse Birch has no room in his life for dating. Raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother, he doesn’t want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn’t want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart.

“I don’t know how Leta keeps doing it!” Roger Grace’s review of Smoky Mountain Dreams #mmromance #gay

“I don’t know how Leta keeps doing it, each time I read one of her books, I have a new favorite by her. I just can’t stop getting pulled into the story and enjoying it so much. This book should be read and enjoyed. can’t say enough just know that the origami swan on the cover is there for a reason. there is a lot of pain and a lot of redemption in this moving story. And each of the stories are different from each other.”

read more via Amazon.com: Roger G Grace’s review of Smoky Mountain Dreams.

Sometimes holding on means letting go Christopher Ryder and Jesse Birch are two men hanging on to the past. While Christopher has let go of his failure as a country singer in Nashville, he's still trying to please his narrow-minded, non-accepting family. His beloved Gran loves him the way he is, but Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. He’s happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee, but even when Christopher is center stage he aches for someone to see the real him. There's more than meets the eye when it comes to bisexual Jesse. He's raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother. There's no room in his life for dating, his kids are his priority, and he doesn't want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn't want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart.
Sometimes holding on means letting go
Christopher Ryder and Jesse Birch are two men hanging on to the past. While Christopher has let go of his failure as a country singer in Nashville, he’s still trying to please his narrow-minded, non-accepting family. His beloved Gran loves him the way he is, but Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. He’s happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee, but even when Christopher is center stage he aches for someone to see the real him.
There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to bisexual Jesse. He’s raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother. There’s no room in his life for dating, his kids are his priority, and he doesn’t want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn’t want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart.

Smoky Mountain Dreams is available now at:

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Questions Teachers Shouldn’t Ask Their Students – This Should Be Obvious! #teaching #education #students

The other day, Bird said to me, “We are learning about wants and needs in school. Did you know that some kids don’t get an allowance?”

I said, “Hmm, yes, I knew that. Why?”

“Well, Mrs. Elder said she didn’t get an allowance growing up. Did you know most of my class doesn’t get an allowance? Why do you give me one?”

“You get a small allowance for the chores we give you because I believe it is never too early to start learning to earn your own money. How did this come up in class?”

“Well, we are learning about wants and needs, so Mrs. Elder asked the class, ‘Who here does NOT get an allowance?’ and most of the kids raised their hand. Mrs. Elder said that allowance is a WANT not a NEED and that she didn’t get one growing up because her parents couldn’t afford to give her one.”

I made some noncommittal sound to Bird, but in my head I was thinking, “What kind of question is that? How is that her business? Or the business of any of the kids in the class? Why on earth would she need to know or have all the other kids know who is getting money from their parents and who is not?”

Teachers, this is something you don’t ask your kids. This is not your business or their business. At all.

I’m relieved that she didn’t ask how much everyone who got an allowance received. (For the record, Bird’s is $5 a week if she does her chores and $1 a week deducted for each day her chores are missed.) But, still, what a way to rub in everyone’s face that some kids get more than other kids. As if that wasn’t obvious enough.

And I have to admit that I wonder about her own potential issues on the subject of money and who has it and who doesn’t.

So, teachers, this is something you don’t ask.

You know what I wish you would ask, though? I wish you’d ask the parents and the kids what their average day looked like. I wish you’d know whose parents are stay-at-home, and whose parents work outside of the home, and whose folks are working two jobs. I wish you you’d know what an average day looks like for each kid. For example, for Bird:

Up at 6am
School until bus to her Grandma’s
At Grandma’s by 3:15
Homework and playtime
5pm picked up by parent
Gymnastics or Piano or home depending on the day
Between 5pm and 8pm, we have to scrunch in any after school activity, feeding dogs, dinner, chores, reviewing school work, ferreting out info on Bird’s day, spending family time or playing with a friend, reading books, and then to bed. It’s a lot. She usually isn’t in bed until 9pm because we can’t make it all fit.

That’s us with one child and two working parents. I’d like her teacher to know that so that she can better understand Bird and her life. I don’t want her teacher knowing that she gets an allowance. That’s a fraught question to say the least.

Seriously, this teacher is pinging all of my buttons this year. Gotta get through, oh, eight more months of her. Maybe she’ll improve.

Fan Vid: Fabulous Beekman Boys: Spying On Hope

So, I made this fanvid. It took around 9 months to make because I couldn’t find the source I wanted (and I never found the source I wanted), but mostly because Windows Movie Maker is the most hellish video making software ever. Let me assure you that this would be a better fan video if I didn’t have to listen to the song from the beginning every time I made a change or tweak, because otherwise the music didn’t line up. Truthfully, there are still many things I’d change about the final product, but I can’t hear the song again. Not for awhile, anyway. One day I might move on from the wretched, evil WMM and buy some proper video making software, but I’m not sure when I’ll do such a thing, since spending money on video making products isn’t really in my budget, especially when I do it so rarely and can’t ever seem to find source.

Wow. Don’t you want to watch this now? Hah. Anyway, it’s a fanvid about The Fabulous Beekman Boys.

Spying On Hope

And, no, I have no idea why it runs on for 2 minutes longer than the music. Uh, I’m pretty sure this is why I’m not a vidder. I’d be unwilling to put a story or book out in this shape, but when it comes to vids I’m all, “GOOD ENOUGH.” And done. 😛