Greetings, everyone! I’m Kendall McKenna, and you’ve reached my blog as part of Queer Town Abbey’s Equal Rights Blog Hop. I’m an author of m/m erotic romance novels and other stories. I specialize in characters who read as authentic U.S. Marines, and very realistic action/combat scenes. If that’s not enough to get all your fun bits feeling tingly, one series of books I’ve written features a group of Marines who are also werewolves!
The experience I’m going to write about – my first experience in the LGBTQ community – isn’t technically my first, but it is my first significant experience. It has shaped who I am, in many ways, and not just my support for equal rights for LGBTQ persons.
I was in college when our county Department of Health (Public Health division) launched its HIV testing clinic. This was in the very, very late 80s, and I worked there for just a couple of years, before I graduated with my degree in Psychology, and moved on. To that point, I had been working in the office of the county’s Epidemiologist, which oversaw the new HIV testing clinic. I was fascinated by the idea of the challenge of launching a brand-new program (something that eventually became my professional specialty), so I leapt at the offer of a transfer. I would be working with people I was already acquainted with (but didn’t know well), and who were predominantly gay and lesbian. They were also all out.
I was already sympathetic and supportive of the LGBTQ community. I was an ally, all those years ago, because I recognized we were all marginalized, and victimized, by the same group of other people. However, there’s a social theory I believe is true, that claims exposure to races and/or cultures outside of our own, creates understanding and acceptance. I believe this theory, because only Sociopaths and Psychopaths can experience what I did, and continue to feel hate toward a group of people.
The point I’m going for is, spending day after day working with an at-risk population is a very effective way to foster empathy, understanding, and acceptance. These beautiful, loving people that were at risk of contracting a disease that would kill them in the most horrific ways imaginable, were constantly told they deserved this fate. It’s one thing to see photos of survivors of Nazi death camps; to see photos of Kaposi’s sarcoma lesions; and it’s another to see both of those conditions in a single person, as his best friend wheels him in his wheelchair, into the clinic. Fear and denial are painful things to see in another human being.
At the same time, the majority of my co-workers were either gay or lesbian (that’s how they identified, anyway). At the same time I saw the community being marginalized, I was also befriended by members of the community. Some of them became genuine friends, and I even attended a (not-yet legal) marriage ceremony. My co-workers were loving, and genuine, and were happy to educate me when I respectfully admitted ignorance.
Anyway, I could draw this story out, and really paint a vivid picture of what I saw, felt, learned, and experienced. I could explain the long-lasting effects this job has had on me as a person, how it impacted both my mind and my heart. By now, I’m sure it’s obvious that I would be an advocate for equal rights, today, regardless of whether I’d taken this job, but I wouldn’t feel the things I feel, nor with the same intensity. This job wasn’t my first experience, but it was the one that shaped me, and my entire future, by influencing how I view people, how I feel about them, and how I act upon what I know to be right and wrong. It was this job that made it all, more than just pretty words.
If you’d like to learn a little more about me, and about the specific books I’ve written, you can find that information here (including buy links).
Just for fun, I’m offering a chance to win an e-book copy of one of my novels. My most recent title was released June 20th, and is the third book in my series, The Tameness of the Wolf. So, enter below for a chance to win one e-book copy of the title of your choice from that series.
Lieutenant Lucas Young doesn’t know much about shifters. When Sergeant Noah Hammond is assigned to Lucas’ platoon, the Marine Corps’ True Alpha werewolf challenges the Lieutenant’s authority and his self-control. As Lucas learns to dominate and command Noah, he struggles against a strong attraction and deepening emotional bond.
During their combat deployment to Afghanistan, Lucas and Noah begin mirroring legendary partnerships. Their bond and their power grow as they survive dangerous combat and ambushes. When one of them is wounded in battle, they both must embrace the strength of their bond before they lose each other forever.
After a fiery exit from Afghanistan, Tim Madison is promoted to major. Jeremy Wagner is a civilian, just beginning his Transition to True Alpha. As a lone wolf, he has no one to teach him the vital principles of strong leadership. After a volatile chance encounter, Tim and Jeremy form an intimate bond.
As Jeremy prepares to someday lead his own pack, Tim struggles with military werewolves being needlessly maimed in combat, as well as specifically targeted by hostile forces. Despite Tim and Jeremy’s feelings, werewolf and human politics or family conflict could prevent their mate-bond.
Adam Madison is in Iraq, driving supply trucks for the Marines, but he still can’t outrun his personal ghosts. Outside the wire, insurgents are a relentless threat. Inside, renegade werewolves are a constant danger.
Dawson Rivers is on a mission for the True Alpha—bring the rampaging shifters under control. Adam proves to be invaluable to his task. Their intense mutual attraction explodes into a powerful physical, and emotional connection.