On Wednesday I have a new story, entitled A Hidden Battle, releasing as part of Torquere Books annual Charity Sip Blitz. Every year many of us donate a story whose royalties are entirely earmarked for a GLBT-focused charity, and Torquere matches our royalty donation. We've supported many wonderful and deserving groups, but this year I'm very proud that we'll be benefiting Outserve SDLN. OutServe is dedicated to supporting active duty service personnel, reservists, and veterans with assistance related to legal issues, discrimination issues, benefits, and discharge status.

In recent months and years there has been a tremendous amount of positive news. Don't Ask, Don't Tell is part of history. You can no longer be given a dishonorable discharge simply for being gay. Some previously discharged service men and women have even rejoined the ranks. And more recently, the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, and the Pentagon has begun directing that benefits be extended to the spouses of soldiers who are legally married, regardless of gender. These are all wonderful news, but there are still lots of bumps in the road. Three states (Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi) are refusing to follow the federal directive regarding benefits for their personnel. That may well mean more legal battles. And as people start to take advantage of the newly available benefits, no doubt more issues will come to light.

People love to read romance featuring military men. They have daring adventures, perform heroic deeds, and wear really sexy uniforms. The reality is a whole lot different. Most of the jobs are tough, unglamorous, and they put a tremendous strain on everyone involved - the service member, and their family. It's easy to forget those families - after all, they're sitting at home where it's safe and comfortable, right? Being an active service member is tough, but so is being their family. Their loved ones are away for long periods of time, often out of communication, and frequently going in harm's way. And all the family can do is sit at home, wait and pray.

My brother-in-law is with the Army Reserve. He's had two deployments to the Middle East, in addition to a lot of time away from home training. He loves being part of the Army, and he's still in although he's hoping to make it to retirement without a third deployment. He doesn't talk much about what he may have seen on deployments. I've heard a lot more from my sister, about the stress it puts on the family, especially if there are kids involved. She relied on the spouses' support group on quite a few tough days. They held each other up when the news media reported that someone from NH had been killed or injured, but no names had been released. They talked about how to deal with it when kids who didn't really understand why Dad or Mom wasn't a home acted up, and the school system didn't think a deployment was a good reason to cut the kid a little extra slack. And were just there for each other when a thousand little things went wrong that they had to deal with on their own, instead of sharing the problem with their spouse.

Now imagine dealing with those issues without any of the official support system. Because your marriage isn't as good as the straight marriage, or even being the ex-spouse of a service member. Or imagine your beloved partner has been killed, and you're not entitled to any of the support from his or her superior officers, or benefits, or even recognition of your grief except under the table as an unofficial kindness. Those situations are why equal benefits and recognition matter, and why we need groups like OutServe to help fight to get them, and to help people claim them in spite of obstructions once they are legally enacted.

For happy endings, and a good cause, come check out the Charity Sip collection on Wednesday. And go read some of my fellow-authors blogs about their stories, and why they took the time to be part of this effort.

Every year, the great authors at Torquere Press put their money where their mouth is, donating their time writing stories for our chosen charity. Those same authors donate any royalties earned on their stories to the chosen organization, with Torquere matching those donations 100%. In the past we've raised $5000.00 for Lambda Legal, over $3000.00 for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and more than $10000.00 combined for organizations such as NOH8 and Doctors Without Borders.

For the 2013-2014 Charity event, which will premiere September 18th 2013, we've chosen OutServe-SLDN as our donation organization. OutServe is a non-profit that provides legal services and support to LGBT military individuals and families, working toward equal representation and benefits.

Our Bloghop Starts Here: Torquere Press

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