Monday, December 14, 2015

Saturday, November 14, 2015


“I don’t think they’re gaining strength,” Obama responded. “What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them. They have not gained ground in Iraq, and in Syria they’ll come in, they’ll leave, but you don’t see this systemic march by ISIL across the terrain.”

Obama said this to George Stephanopoulos Friday morning.  Was it delusion, stupidity, a trigger?  ISIS is pouring across the world. We have ISIS training camps in Illinois and no one does anything about it. How can he possibly believe we have contained them? And, if he doesn't know it or believe it, it is one more nationally broadcast lie to America. What happened in Paris can happen here at any minute. Think about that every time you walk in the door of a mall or a theater. The only difference will be someone in the crowd of US citizens will be armed.

Harrassment By Any Other Name

When I was in college, I was a member of a much ridiculed minority. One consisting of only two percent of the world's population. At my institution the percentage was even lower. As a matter of fact, I only recall 3 other members of this minority in all my years spent there. I was constantly being approached by people remarking on my condition. I went to the Dean, Lamping was his name.  He was dating a grade school class mate of mine, but they broke up. I better leave her name out of this. Anyway, I asked for a "safe place" where those of us sharing this condition  could congregate without being "hit on". That is what they called it in those times. You were being "hit on" or "hawked", not harrassed. So when I made my request the dean said, "Bag ass, Red."

Friday, September 18, 2015

Pope Redefines Charity

The head of the Roman Catholic Church, of which I was formerly a holy card carrying member, announced today, barely able to contain his utter glee, that the commonly used word"charity" has been redefined. Formerly equated with good deeds, as in Christian Charity or the well known Catholic Charities, the word's primary meaning has been altered to "blackmail", announced the infallible head of one of the world's larger and more respected religions. 

Official decree attached. 

Any non-adherence to the new doctrine will qualify as the type of sin known as "mortal".

Photo attribution:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Morning Glories

It took three years  to get back a  blue one. They self seed and cross pollinate too much.  I have planted only blue for three years. I hope this will be a blue vine. Thrilled I am.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Spectrum of Bitterness -- part four

Image result for image of girl chased by crowd

Image result for image of girl chased by crowd

"The last time I saw Richard was Detroit in '68 and he told me. . . "

                                                                           Joni Mitchell

Last night I spent about three hours on a three -way, (don't get your hopes up. . .) cell phone, voice and text message discussion.  A person close to me called.  They were in distress half-way across the country from me.  I spoke and texted with all three members of this debacle, until my wi-fi finally said, "Fuck this." and gave up the ghost.

Among other things, I was told pieces of family history that a person had told another person that were part enhancement, part disremembering , and part hog wash.  I dealt with tears, lies, condemnations, praise, laughter, pleading, drunkenness and despair. This morning I was texted that every thing was hunky dory and they were going to experiment with one of the pieces of advice (Not the one where I said shut the fuck up) and see how that worked out.

I responded, since they were all in search of emotional peace of some sort and none of them had a handy firearm, that the texter should tell one certain member of the triad that I find it very difficult to text while my tears are pouring over the keyboard. I pretty much felt like I was run over by a truck.

It isn't like this same horrible blood-letting drama hasn't unfolded on at least three other ocasions, word for word. No. This was all new, fresh wounds and never before experienced pain and anguish.   Remind me to press record call the next time it happens.

One of the persons, near and dear to me, is very well known to react, or should I say 'lose her shit' over specific issues that this unnamed person does not care to deal with at that moment, which is 99% of the moments in that person's life.  So I am hoping that some of these people will soon learn not to rock that boat, or pull the tail of that tiger, or poke that hornet's nest. Of course I admonished one and all that it would be very difficult work to even reach 50/50 compromises on these hot button issues and they all agreed that they would whole-heartedly make that effort. Again.

I am thinking of ordering a t-shirt that says, "I am not Ann Landers."  but no one knows who that is anymore.  I am a rather socially solitary person and I cannot figure out how I end up in the middle of these things.  After each one of these crises has passed, if I dare say, "So, how's it going" or "So, what's new?" I usually get the "Go away, you meddlesome bitch" sneer.

My brothers were feuding for a good many years.  I felt like a frigging ping-pong ball.  They actually, were they to accept an inquiry, could neither of them remember what the feud was about. The demise of our beloved father caused them to put the conflict aside and be "brothers" again. This, of course, since I am not only the middle child, but also an ignorant female whose life experience with dealing with  aging and dying parents and rest home bills, etc. counts for naught, means the ping- pong table was folded up and put in the crawl space, and this ping-pong ball was immediately relegated to a dusty corner of the "high, high" shelf. And, since I have had many a year to develop certain scars and calouses, I just don't give a shit.  I am just me.

It isn't even reality.  Everything that I experience takes place only in my brain, a beautiful garden where I am very content.  Lots of weeds, but I know how to get rid of them. I am quite capable of generating a colorful alternate history. (Which any of you that wish to, can delve into.  Google me. Cherry pick from the reality and the fiction. Whatever suits you.)

"No man is an island."  That's baloney.  I am an island and if you are on it, be it ever so briefly, it is because I allowed it.

And Richard died, so I don't have to deal with that anymore either.

Sunday, July 05, 2015


To night I went to the most glorious fireworks display at Great Lakes Naval Station.  The xanax kept me from having a panic attack because I genuinely  believed that ISIS could launch an RPG into the crowd from some cabin cruiser off shore, where many gather in their boats to watch the show.

But at each surge of emotion, each patriotic song, crying  when Toby Keith says "we'll put a boot in their ass" (he would, we could, we should) I  thought "Why are people  trying so hard to fuck up our Nation from inside and out?

And let me add, there were far fewer people there this year. Maybe fear, maybe apathy, maybe more haters. But there were plenty of people there that would stand up next  to you and fight for our country's values. Of course I would. I have nothing to lose.


Friday, July 03, 2015

Maybe The Last One

Tomorrow, celebrate our wonderful Nation's  birthday, joyfully and safely.

United we stand. Divided we fall

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Thursday, June 25, 2015


Hope this announcement does not offend any one or trifle with their feelings, but it is serious and important to me which is why I keep forgetting to mention it.

At my last doctor appointment my doctor upgraded me from bipolar disorder to dysthymic condition.  This means I am not crazy anymore. Just a little sad.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tempest in a Tea Pot

Another forced attempt to distract us from what is going on.  Divided we fall.

Big fuss over a flag. How 'bout we forbid ten percent of the displaying of the Confederate Flag?

And, by the way, George Washington owned slaves. I want to say something about pigeons coming home to roost, but probably not politically correct -- a HUGE concern of mine. Not.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


This is an opinion piece, not a paid advertisement or solicited review.

We quite frequently shop at our nearest military commissary.  There are many advantages. Too many years ago, I would always use only Parkay or Imperial margerine as a spread or whatever. I felt other brands were noticably greasy. Then someone mentioned that margerine was one molecule away from being plastic and I heard from another person that butter was "natural". At that time butter was considerably  more expensive, but I made the change and have never veered from my choice.

While shopping one day at the  commissary  (they often carry locally unfamiliar brands) I noticed  Challenge butter. It was packaged by the pound in two different shapes. The conventional stick and a short chubbier stick. The pound of shorties must have been priced as an 8 oz. package because it was, and still is, cheaper than the conventional  size. Thus we became Challenge users. We noticed immediately that it tasted wonderful, used as spread or in baking. I make Baker's one-bowl brownies and you can totally experience the difference.

Then I began to hear of Kerry Gold. One person said she was a strict vegan except for Kerry Gold. I ran out and had to borrow a pack of Kerry Gold from my daughter. It is an unnatural shade of yellow that is surely  enhanced unless they feed their cows only carrots. It is prohibitively expensive and it has no taste experience, much less delicious or "better".  I feel like I am changing a passage in the Bible. Kerry Gold fans are rabid. But Wal Mart generic tastes better and, hands down, Challenge wins the taste war. It is delicious. The acid test is melting it for popcorn and it cannot be beaten. You can just take my word for it cuz if you ever try it, you will know for yourself.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Loss of Innocence

I had a friend with a daughter that was born with a very rare syndrome. She was very charming, cute, friendly and, of course, naïve. He worried so what would become of her after his death. Her death preceded his, so he was always able to protect her, as was her brother.

I am sickened by this Josh Duggar hullabaloo. Not by what Josh did. I grew up on the west side of Chicago and I well remember what games 8 and 9 year olds played. No details, folks, but yesterday I did not fall off the turnip truck.

What sickens me are the comments. People are getting their heads lopped off in Syria, and all these  people can talk about is who "diddled" (that word is used over and over) who. These are people who slept dorm style. Nineteen kids. Girls at one end of the upstairs, boys at the other. Not even separate  cabins like at summer camp, where fooling around went  on like crazy. I was on a Catholic religious retreat and we all climbed out the window every night.

The commentors wax on about what else someone might have done, or who may have done something to who.  It honestly sounds like they are getting "aroused" by it. And they definitely are playing one-up-manship.

I am disgusted that there  is pin point focus  on this. According to what I have read, everyone in the world was supposed to be a virgin in thought, word, and action  until an appointed official spoke certain words. And according to those same people, to a man/woman, they were.

I am not praising hypocrisy or deceit. I do know what little kids can come up with in their  curiosity. And , according to someone close to me it was the little girl that taught the game. On the block where I lived for many years, it was also a girl that instigated it. And, believe me, every little boy then tried to get others to play. One boy,  a few years older than I, even said, "You don't have to be afraid of me."

Examine your conscience. Make your own moral peace within your self, and stop feeding this titillating crap to the masses.

Store bottled water.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


I am privileged. I have never found myself in a rapeable situation. But, more importantly, I have never allowed myself to be in that kind of situation. And let me tell you, I have been in  some doozies. Like stopping random people on the south side of the City of Chicago, near 24th and Rockwell actually, asking them how to shift gears on a manual volkswagen cuz my boyfriend is passed out drunk.

Here is the thing. A certain well-known blogger and author did a column on rape being used unnecessarily as a plot device. This is stupid. Rape is not a plot device. If it is in the story it is to authenticate the historical period. It is not a trope. It is a reality. And to avoid talking about it is disingenuous. So maybe it wasn't used as a plot device. Maybe it was a somewhat strained attempt to introduce a reality into the story. Or, we could have people saying, "Gee, that was a swell story. It is nice that people didn't rape or even know what it was in those times."

And how profound is this?  "Truth in fiction is about authenticity."  What the fuck does that mean? Since we are trying to redefine everything else in our culture, at least semantically, are we going to redefine "fiction"or "truth" and/or "authenticity". I mean,  I have seriously wasted my whole long life if, all along, I have been looking for truth and authenticity in my  fiction reading. Fuck you, Raggedy Ann.

Comments closed, Chuck? You're not the boss of my comments.

MOB ACTION: a misdemeanor arrestable offense

This just happened in the last few hours in a rough area of a city that will not be named. Tell me, honestly, from your gut and heart, without any politically  correct  bull shit, do you have to ask the race of these people?  The situation is, of this moment, unresolved, and several similar incidents occur regularly, many times each week.  Who was in danger?  Who was at fault?  If you are not in the trenches, don't comment on the war. 

All times are approximate. Conveyed verbally to me. Not my personal experience.

Patient was brought to ICU room 119 at 2000 after code blue on floor. Patient coded at 2016. Pulse returned, and family members were allowed to bedside two at a time. Patient coded again at 2050. While staff were running code, patient family members were congregating at the doorway of the room, yelling at staff to "Do something!". Security was called for crowd control purposes. Patient expired at approximately 2105. ER Dr. went to family waiting room, where approximately 30 family members were waiting at request of security. When ER doctor informed the crowd that family member had passed away, all of the family members began screaming and charging through the waiting room doors. Security officer was attempting to restrain them all from charging into the ICU, but there were too many of them pushing him and screaming. They pushed past him, scratching his arms and drawing blood in the process. Code grey was called at 2108. One more security officer arrived to room 119 in response to code grey. One security officer was standing in the doorway of the room, attempting to prevent them all from running into the room at the same time. Several staff members attempted to explain that the family needed to remain calm and they would all be allowed to see the patient in an orderly fashion. At least five family members were shoving the security officer in the room's doorway, and screaming that they were going to "Beat the shit outta y'all". I attempted to call the nursing supervisor (who had NOT been present at either of the code blues or the code grey) and after four failed attempts to reach the supervisor's portable phone, I called the operator and asked her to page the supervisor overhead at approx 2114. She offered to call the supervisor's portable phone, and I told her I had already done that several times, to no avail. She then said that she would page her. After three minutes of not hearing an overhead page, I called the operator back and asked her to please "overhead" page the supervisor, in the event that this was an emergency situation. At that time, she overhead (e.g.:  by PA system) paged the supervisor. During this time, every single one of the patient's family members was standing in the hallway of the unit, wailing and screaming multiple obscenities. All the other patients on the unit were disturbed. Other patient family members were afraid to walk down the hallway to exit the unit. Several staff members, including myself, were taken away from providing care for their respective patients. When the nursing supervisor arrived, I told her that this group of family members was overpowering security and the situation was continually escalating, instead of calming down. She informed me she was going to call the CNO, because "her husband is a cop, and maybe he can do something under the radar". Then she left the immediate area.

At this time, I decided the only option to ensure the safety of the staff (nurses and security) was to call (redacted) Police. I called 911 and explained the situation to them and requested their presence.  

(Further remarks on resolution in comments.  Your opinions are requested and respected.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It's a Matter of Taste and Personal Dignity

First disclaimer:  if you haven't noticed yet, I am a bitter old crone.

I don't blog much anymore. But I have gone through dry spells before. Lately, something just keeps me from that keyboard. And as for my fiction, I have notebooks of three or four works in progress. Just can't get it onto the machine. Think I know why. Think I am warming up. I am just not caught up in the excitement of the process anymore. I show spikes in readership that have no relationship to my activity. I get royalties for sales that don't show up in any analytics. How am I supposed to know what works? There is no explanation for having 183 blog hits one day and 52 the next when I haven't even posted of late. I know. Something showed up in someone's comments, or on some google entry. But I am tired of floundering around like a beached fish searching for the right water hole.

I read a lot about trad pub versus e pub. These are two schools of mind that have nothing in common. One is playing football, the other is ice skating, but they think they are doing the same thing cuz they both are "sportsing".

I always wanted to put my two cents in, but lately 2 out of 3 comments I make, I erase instead of submitting. How my public must be suffering!

Today, on an agent's blog, something struck me. She is really nice and helpful and seems kind. (Some are such sharks.) The commentors were having a healthy back and forth about making changes in your work to please some agent or editor or publisher. Can't do it. If you don't like my style, oh, well.  I am very fond of it. So I wrote this comment and erased it without submitting. I could only think of a not too decorous kind of an analogy. Here, my page, my editing, I can let it roll.

A pimp tells his stable they need to wear shorter skirts. Business is slow. The newest member of the family takes this to heart and complies. Unbeknownst to her, the guy in the little black BMW is cruising, looking for his favorite fetish  -  a cute little chick in a kilt and argyles.

 No point in trying to please "the customer". Maybe there is a general trend or style that appeals to more, but if that's not your style, you have to wait for the customer who likes your style. So go out there and get 'em with your argyle sox and plaid skirt. At least you will find someone who appreciates you.

Photo attribution:  Acid

Monday, May 04, 2015

He's dead. . .

Where is the nearest riot we can join? Oh, we're not?  We don't do that stuff?  Why not?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Hungry Ego

So, some time tomorrow I will roll over 220,000 hits on my blog.  I should give a prize.

That's okay, folks. I realize I am totally bragging and I am the only one who it is fun for, or even cares. Little enough to do that with nowadays. Go back to your life now.


Once Again, It Is Time.

Vectored copy, so typo is uncorrectable.

Image attribution:  personal files

Monday, April 20, 2015


Click throughs are up!

Books are back on Amazon. Anymore and Outside Plumbing also at Smashwords. I will put click-throughs up tomorrow, hopefully. Thanks for your patience. Very heartening you found them anyway!

Saturday, April 11, 2015


The tide is turning. Devisiveness is being radicalized because of some hidden, or maybe obvious, agenda. Like the huge Ginger Bashing initiative which was NEVER a real thing despite everyone's efforts to formalize another hate group.

Humans are being encouraged to turn on one another and publicize and popularize the particular hate they are promoting.

Many, many years ago I conversed with a woman who was talking about her neighborhood weekly bingo playing social fest. She mentioned that they all thought a certain woman was "different". She then said,  (I swear to you, pay attention so you can put this into perspective,)  "Then we found out she was Latvian."

What is going on? Well, now you see videos of a dog going into traffic to rescue his wounded comrade. So much for the definition of humanity.

Illustration attribution:  Mabel Lucie Atwell from Pinterest

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Wendig Competition

God had been working on the Earth project for way too long. It was really becoming just tedious.  There were a few things that needed changing, one in particular, but the damned eraser was absolutely shot.

"Fuck it," He thought as He cast the eraser aside, caring not at all where it landed. "Let them figure it out themselves."

The End

(Insert blah, blah, blah, until you reach desired word count.)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015



3. What is the critic’s motive?

You can’t read people’s minds, but most of the time you can discern someone’s motive when they criticize you. Is it constructive criticism tempered with love and concern? Or is it destructive criticism designed to bring you down? The critic’s motive can be a clue to whether or not the criticism is legitimate.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Repost from Passive Voice (Author anonymous)

The author of this needed anonymity for understandable reasons.

So…yesterday, Jane Litte announced on her blog (Dear Author) that she has been writing new adult romance under the pseudonym Jen Frederick. I’m not going to rehash it all, but here is the link if you’d like to read the reasons behind her decision in her own words. (Link not evident)

First off, I want to make it clear that I harbor no ill will toward Jane. I think she’s whip-smart, and a fabulous businesswoman. I also congratulate her on her amazing success as an author. In the past, I have agreed with a lot of what she says about reviews and reviewers rights, and have lauded her efforts to take a stand against author and publisher misconduct. I also know how influential she is in the industry. Which is why I spent pretty much my whole day writing and deleting this and, ultimately decided to post anonymously. Because I KNOW I would lose friendly author acquaintances over this. I KNOW I would get emails and tweets and people coming at me because I didn’t just jump on the kumbaya bandwagon and high five her about her announcement. But when I thought back through the Ellora’s Cave/Dear Author situation, I kept coming back to the hashtag…

And guess what? I’m not chilled with this. I respect Jane. I don’t think her intention was to hurt anyone with her choice not to disclose her author name. I also don’t think she used her unique position to intentionally benefit herself as an author or reviewer, or to benefit her publisher. What I do think is that there are other, much more complex issues at play here that the reading (and reviewing) public might not be aware of. I’m going to lay them out for you now, as I see them.

I want to clarify something here (because I know it will come up). I am not a bitter author who is reveling in the potential GOTCHA! moment for Jane due to a bad review on her blog or some personal beef. Full disclosure: I have been reviewed by Dear Author more than once and have received reviews ranging between a C+ and a B-. I was happy that she reviewed me, thought the reviews were even-handed, and I believe I re-tweeted and squeed when I was notified that I’d been reviewed. I’ve never been lambasted by Jane or anyone else on her review blog (that I know of, at any rate) and I have no ax to grind with her on a personal level.

I’m writing this specifically because I don’t want to.

I’m writing this specifically for all the people I know who feel the way I do and are too afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation.

Here are the two main things I’m #notchilled about:
Firstly, reviews are sacrosanct. Reviewers are sacrosanct. We are told on a daily basis, as authors, that we are not allowed to respond to reviews publicly, whether a review is gushing, fabulous and insightful and we want to thank the reviewer, or the review is cruel, misinformed, or downright threatening and we want to defend ourselves. I agree with this (although, there are times I admit I don’t like it so much, lol, because I’m human) and have spent the last five years as a professional author adhering to this tenet (although, I admit, before I knew better, when my first book released, I did cry on Twitter once and solicit virtual hugs the first time I got a “This author should go die in a fire” type review that laid me low for a week before I grew thicker skin. I did not comment on said review, or send in troops to defend me. I just…cried). Now that I know better, I make sure that, if I vent at all about anything industry or book related, I vent to trusted friends and colleagues and in loops with other authors. In those private loops (and yes, I’m aware nothing online is ever truly private) likeminded authors speak more freely. Because you have to understand, we don’t have an after work softball team, or a water cooler, or a birthday cake for Sally on Tuesday where we get to bitch about old Mr. Jennings and how he’s really busting our hump at work that day.
We just have each other and those loops. Most of us never see another author face to face more than once or twice in a given year, if that.

In those loops, we talk industry and strategy and marketing and pricing and trends and hard sales numbers. We talk about the writing process and how hard it can be sometimes, and acknowledge that the muse doesn’t necessarily pepper our dreams with glittery ideas for bestsellers and that it’s a freaking GRIND sometimes, or how we just HATE our current manuscript and are terrified our readers will hate it too, and what a struggle it’s been, and yes, some authors talk reviews. It’s the place that we get to speak freely and treat our business like exactly that. A for profit business. A place where we don’t have to wear our public hat that, by necessity, requires us to stifle ourselves to some degree or risk ostracizing our readership. A place where we take our bra off and stretch for a minute with other braless writer-types. Not that I’m pretending to be someone else on open social media, but there are definitely things I say to authors in “private” that would pull back the curtain, so to speak, in a way that would make me uncomfortable in public, not unlike a school teacher talking politics on Facebook or something.

Imagine my surprise, then, to realize that Jane is on more than one of these loops with me as Jen Frederick. I find myself…not okay with that. Not because I’m ashamed by anything I’ve said, but because I even have to sit here and worry about it. And I’m feeling even sicker for the authors who thought they were in a place that was safe to share certain things and did so who would NOT have done so had they known Jane was present. Do I believe Jane would or has intentionally retaliated against these authors if they said something negatively about her site, her books, her writing partner, or the EC case or any myriad of things? No. But that doesn’t change the fact that it feels like a violation. And the thing that readers of this post need to realize is that JANE KNOWS THAT. There is no way that a right-minded person would be privy to the posts and information she was privy to who would not realize that they were eavesdropping on a conversation that they weren’t supposed to hear. That they were peeking through someone’s window who wasn’t aware they were watching. Yes, it’s the internet. Yes, maybe we should’ve closed the bedroom door more tightly. Yes, maybe would shouldn’t have left our curtains open. But morally, there is no question in that situation, a right-thinking person knows they should look away. Especially a person as smart as Jane.

And as much as I believe the intention was to “wear two hats” and not let one influence the other, or let what she may have read poison the well, I just don’t think brains are like hats. Jane’s a lawyer, so I’ll use a (fictional) law analogy. I always see these legal shows on TV where one of the lawyers says something KNOWING it’s going to be objected to, or coaches a witness into a response that reveals something inadmissible. The judge slaps their wrist and has it stricken from the record, and advises the jury to “disregard it”. Why would a lawyer do something like that when they know it’s going to get stricken and the jury is supposed to disregard it? BECAUSE THAT’S NOT HOW LIFE WORKS. The same way cases get moved from one place to another because one area has been tainted by media coverage. They can advise the person not to pay attention to that. Not to consider any of that information when making a decision, but that’s just not doable. You can try, but once it’s heard, you can’t unhear it. Just like Jane can’t UNSEE if someone posted they thought her blog was cruel, or that they didn’t support her legal fees gofundme because they disagreed with her, or that they think her publisher’s contract is crappy or herr agent is unethical etc. (Not that these things were discussed, necessarily, but they might have, as they SHOULD be, if that’s what the authors in that loop feel like discussing). Because that’s where we get to do that without censure. That’s where we get to learn and teach and help and support one another without judgment.
I recall one specific conversation on an Indie author loop about the EC/DA case where authors expressed varying points of view. Jane was (according to various members) part of this loop. Would people have spoken so freely if they knew she was there? The answer is unequivocally no. And I’m extremely uncomfortable with that. Like Old Mr. Jennings who was busting my hump was also hiding next to me at the water cooler in a fake mustache and glasses this whole time, listening it.

That’s not okay for me and I feel like I lost something today. Something that I’m already mourning because it’s something that, in this solitary profession, I needed very badly. And it makes me really sad.

The second issue I have is the lack of disclosure on a professional level. Whether Jane promoted her own books, her writing partner’s books, or her publisher’s books, or did or did not review her publisher’s books during the time between the signing of her contract and today, it doesn’t matter. Everything comes into question now, regardless, because what she didn’t do merits as much scrutiny as what she did do and even the potential for impropriety cracks it all open. Everything becomes something to reconsider from a different lens. From choosing to write an exposé on one publisher’s misconduct while wondering if she would do the same, as aggressively or as objectively, to her own, to the DABWAHA nominees, to positive reviews for pub sisters whose Berkeley books she might not have reviewed but who ALSO write for other publishers whose books she did review, to opinions on other authors that would be one thing coming from an impartial point of view become very different animal coming from an author who writes in the same genre she runs a majorly influential review blog about. There are soooo many potential and complex ways that lines could have been crossed here, it would take hours to explore them all, but I do think they shouldn’t be ignored.

Again, do I think that she intentionally took advantage? I don’t think so. And loads of people are going to chime in and say, “Jane would never do that.” Which is all well and good, but guess what? I don’t know Jane. And I daresay most of you don’t either, even if you thought you did yesterday. The way I see it, she’s no different than a judge who recuses himself in a case because he knows the defendant or plays golf with the father of the plaintiff. Does that judge have it in him to not abuse his position and still make an unbiased decision? Maybe he does. But it doesn’t matter. That’s NOT how it works because even the possibility of it would later call everything that happened in that case into question. Jane’s a lawyer. She knows this and she did it anyway.

And it makes me feel…squitchy. Catfished. Sock-puppeted. Hoodwinked, to be honest. And I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I did what I do. I wrote about it. I’m sorry it’s not the popular thing to say, but it needed to be said.

I’m not angry, and I don’t wish Jane ill will. I hope she comes out the other side of this happy and successful, both as a person and as an author. But seeing a person who has built a career on commenting on the quality of romance novels and behaving as a watchdog…a person who has publicly wagged a journalistic finger at every wrong-doing, real or perceived, from every publisher and author in the industry (and would go back for seconds or thirds when an apology came off like not a good enough apology or when she felt that a person hadn’t been humbled enough), watching this pass by with only stunned whispers behind closed doors because authors are afraid they’ll find themselves at the bottom of a bloody dog-pile? That sticks in my craw. She is in a position of power, whether she wants to be or not. Whether she uses that power or not. And we feel silenced because of that power.

But someone needs to wag a finger here.

Someone needs to do what Jane would have done if this hadn’t been about Jane.

Someone needs to stand up and say that what she did was wrong.

So I’m saying it.

You wrong, Jane. You wrong.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Let's Talk About Covers Some More

One of my huge worries when I write is what will I put on the cover. I usually have two or three ideas, and I am not too good at photo manipulation, so it is troublesome for me. Some I am not too happy with. But since people started snitching my ideas I don't feel so bad. But I always want it to be different than other people's. Not easy when the most popular covers on the best seller list mostly show a road disappearing into the horizon. But I find this amusing since these two books were being touted on the same site.

As an aside, I have the republishing problem solved.  Smashwords lets me download the original doc.  Still, it is taking a while since I cannot resist proof reading and changing little things here and there.  At least I had a productive day.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Of course there are many languages. Some related . Like French, Spanish, Latin. You can sometimes figure out what the words are without studying the language. With familiarity to the alphabet, I can sometimes do that with Russian or Greek. I used to be able to tell the difference between  a person who was from Louisiana and a person who was from Texas. Can't anymore. Probably cuz I don't really listen to anyone  anymore.

Then there are languages like Swedish or Urdu. You have to wonder from where they arose.

And in each language: dialect, slang, jargon, accent. Southern states, "Bless her heart" pretty much means "Wow. Is she dumb."

Then I read this Jane Austen quote. The language I am most familiar with is "English". But, man, is that messed up. For God's sake, why do Brits, be they Scot, Welsh, whatever, say "whilst" instead of "while"? Is that a sort of contraction of "while it is"?  Or did we Americans elide the ending away? I can't get my head around it. I have to try not to think about it, it bothers me so much. I haven't the time or the gray matter to deal with it. And don't even start me up about grey and gray. Particularly regarding those who correct you about which is correct.

But then, a long awaited breath of fresh air from Jane Austen. Honestly, I can't recall reading her, but I must, even if only to dwell on her combinations of the 26 letters. "

So brilliant.  So overstuffed with personality, subtlety; so layered with both  appreciation and deprecation.  My favorite language of all:  intelligent  snark.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Hoe Your Own Row

Mabel Lucie Attwell #art #illustration #mermaid

Suppose I went National or worldwide asserting that my works of writing have not been accepted by traditional publishers because I write about redheads and I am a redhead.  We are only 2 - 4 % of the population, and I feel like I am being discriminated against.  Wouldn't you think that was ridiculous?

The following is reblogged from  The School Library Journal.  It is written by Zetta Elliot.  If she asks me to take it down I will gladly comply.

(I am a Black feminist writer committed to social justice. I write stories about Black children and teens, but within the children’s literature community I have struggled to find a home or what poet June Jordan calls “living room.” In “Moving Towards Home,” Jordan describes a place “where the talk will take place in my language…where my children will grow without horror…where I can sit without grief.” If “home” represents sanctuary—a safe space where one can speak in one’s authentic voice, feel valued, and able to thrive—then the children’s literature community is not my home. I am—and likely will remain—an outsider.
By industry standards, I suppose I am a failed author. Since I started writing for young readers in 2000, only three of my thirty stories have been published traditionally. I turned to self-publishing as my only recourse, and now face the contempt of those who see self-publishing as a mere exercise in vanity.
Last year a white Facebook “friend” suggested that my decision to self-publish was analogous to Blacks in the civil rights era choosing to dine in their segregated neighborhood instead of integrating Jim Crow lunch counters in the South. In her mind, self-publishing is a cowardly form of surrender; to be truly noble (and, therefore, deserving of publication) I ought to patiently insist upon my right to sit alongside white authors regardless of the hostility, rejection, and disdain I regularly encounter.
Since 2009 I have used my scholarly training to examine white supremacy in the children’s literature community where African Americans remain marginalized, despite the 2014 increase in books about Africans/African Americans. This sudden spike (reflected in the latest statistics from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) was not paired with a comparable increase in the number of books by Blacks, however, suggesting that power remains where it has always been: in the hands of whites.
Publishers Weekly’s 2014 salary survey revealed that only 1 percent of industry professionals self-identify as African American (89 percent self-identify as white). That the homogeneity of the publishing workforce matches the homogeneity of published authors and their books is no coincidence. The marginalization of writers of color is the result of very deliberate decisions made by gatekeepers within the children’s literature community—editors, agents, librarians, and reviewers. These decisions place insurmountable barriers in the path of far too many talented writers of color.
I know better than to turn to the publishing industry when I seek justice for “my children:” Trayvon, Renisha, Jordan, Islan, Ramarley, Aiyana, and Tamir. I know not to hope that industry gatekeepers will rush to publish books for the children of Eric Garner as they struggle to make sense of the murder of their father at the hands of the New York Police Department. But I also know that children’s literature can help to counter the racially biased thinking that insists Michael Brown was “no angel” but rather “a demon” to be feared and destroyed. I believe there’s a direct link between the misrepresentation of Black youth as inherently criminal and the justification given by those who so brazenly take their lives.
The publishing industry can’t solve this problem single-handedly, but the erasure of Black youth from children’s literature nonetheless functions as a kind of “symbolic annihilation.” Despite the fact that the majority of primary school children in the U.S. are now kids of color, the publishing industry continues to produce books that overwhelmingly feature white children only. The message is clear: the lives of kids of color don’t matter.)

Like an agent knows what color skin an author has when they get a query mailed to them
Ezra Jack Keats' bio on google opens with "Ezra Jack Keats is an American Author."
Zora Neale Thurston's opens with "Zora Neale Thurston was an American folklorist."  As a part of a writing program at my grand daughters, school, I heard her speak.  She discussed how important it is to write.  I am POSITIVE not one person in that audience thought, "I am listening to the voice of a black woman."  I am also POSITIVE no one boycotted the talk because she was black.  The room she spoke in was packed. She gave my grand daughter a signed book!  Betcha Ms. Elliot doesn't have one/ 
If people want to wave the flag of skin color, they are free to do it as much as they want.  Personally, I am obsessed with being a redhead and well aware of all the privileges it has granted me.  My PINTEREST board on redheads is huge and beautiful.  But I do not bang people over the head with the flagpole.  I do not slap them in the face with the flag. 
Racial divisiveness is being promoted.  Skin color is being emphasized all out of proportion. Why take on the burden of an unjust classification all by your self?  Is your skin really black?  Is your skin really white?  Is your skin really yellow?  
My mantra is and always has been, "Hoe your own row."  "Play the hand you were dealt."  If you do those things the very best you can, if each and every person of whatever ethnicity did that the very best they could, there would be no reason at all for anyone to hire a bandwagon full of supporters to back them up, to second their opinion, to help them. 
I am getting so sick of it.
I have to rush now.  My cable company cancelled my service because I am a redhead, and I have an appointment with a lawyer.  The pressure is getting so bad, someone anonymously sent me a one way ticket to Scotland.  I am so insulted.  
IMAGE ATTRIBUTION:  Vintage illustration by Mabel Lucie Attwell, via Google

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Not available at Amazon for the time being.
Accessible from any device at Kobo.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


This was posted on facebook by Blair Underwood and he asked us to share.

The thing about this photo is an example of the only attitude people should have about other people.

I know I post conflicting stuff. But that is what is out there, and that is what each of us has to process on his own.

You cannot tell by looking at this photo of a child what might be her racial, genetic, cultural,  or national identity. Only that she is beautiful and very very  cute.  Her face probably has universal appeal.

So where do all our prejudices and  misconceptions start to muck up the picture?  Education and the media are obviously not saying the right things. Things like what this photo shows us, besides a pretty face.

Monday, March 09, 2015


When was that Selma Alabama memorial march thing?  Some day last week?  How fucking adorably ironic.  Martin Luther King is spinning in his grave.

I am through. I will never ever again proselytize about accepting people for their own self worth or recognize effort and ability without prejudice or distinction. This is the straw that broke my less than perfect back.

- BizPac Review

Hey.  Guess what?  If you didn't notice yet, I have no struggle at all having conversations with people who don't "look like me".   Doesn't that sound more like this prick has a personal problem instead of a RACIAL problem?  But then, there is that BLAME thing going on.

 This is the high school my daughter and I graduated from. When I was there, there was one black student. Her name was Faith Julian. She was Dr. Percy Julian's (google) daughter. They burned a cross on his lawn when he moved into Oak Park, Illinois. That town contains a larger concentration of sanctimonious dickheads than any  other city in the world. My dad was a cop there. I moved back when I got married. The mayor was corrupt. He was paying his extramarital sweetie over a million dollars a year as a computer consultant. I am getting ahead of myself.

Faith Julian was a sweet, friendly, unpretentious girl despite being ungodly wealthy. She would walk into one of the school's enormous, thronged girl's bathrooms and a hush would fall. I was a senior when she started there.  She was a year or two behind. As far as I recall I am the only person who ever spoke to her in a social situation at that time. But everyone knew it would be me. I would talk to anyone.

When I went to St. Mel's grammar school, there was one black girl. Her name was Hazel. Her parents were rich. We could tell by her coat. It was an Irish neighborhood where most of our coats had too short sleeves and were threadbare hand-me-downs.  Hers was tan with a brown velvet collar and a fucking matching hat.

We walked into Madigan's department store and my two and a half year old brother saw his first black person. I will never forget the look on his face. My mom had to explain his reaction to me.

I would  love to tell you the story about why all the parks in my subdivision  have been remodeled in the last ten years and there is no longer a basketball hoop to be found. (I now live way North of Oak Park. When I moved out fifteen years ago, my real estate taxes were over $8,000 for a forty two foot lot.)

On the stairwell at my high school there was a huge picture of some guy named McDaniel who founded the school. I said he was my great grandpa. Maybe he was. I hope that picture was taken down before thugs covered it with obscene graffiti.

Oh.  Here is another ironic aside.  In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, there is an old plantation that is kept as a historical site for tourists and stuff. It is called The McDaniel Plantation.

In college, I went to visit my then boyfriend in Spring Hill, Alabama.  The Airport was weathered in so we had to take a bus from New Orleans to Mobile.  I saw a drinking fountain that had a sign Colored Only.  Not a photo.  Not a reproduction.  A flaking, old, white enamel sign above a drinking fountain.

Why does not someone talk to this current school principal, who is principal for the same stupid reason Barack Obama is president, and mention casually, with maybe a sixteen pound sledge hammer, that he is promoting and fueling racial divisiveness?  Why are we so FUCKING scared to speak up? Why do we give stupid assholes like Al Sharpton air time and print inches?

I am through with tolerance. I sneer at it. It is all about me now. Me and MY affinity group.

Son of a BITCH. This is SOOO fucking outrageous. I cannot believe it happened. I cannot believe it was allowed. If I was a 99 pound sophomore and he barred me from MY auditorium in MY school, I would have kicked the mother fucker in the balls. Or do "they" not have any?

Unfollow me. I don't fucking care.

Actually, I only EVER pretended to care.

Photo attribution:   Idon'

Tuesday, March 03, 2015


Image result for image of two people angry with each other

I know there is a larger hue and cry about discrimination of any kind. There are web sites that actually have to say,  "Hey.  There are still nice guys in the world."  There are waaay too many (in my female opinion) websites supporting feminism, a particular thorn in my side. And there is the subject of race, and/or skin color,  a subject I apparently look at differently than the rest of the world. (See upcoming story about giraffes.)

I am old. I am also a grand daughter of immigrants. I also belong to a group of people with a physical characteristic that has been the butt of jokes, teasing, bullying and other forms of discriminatory behavior.  I have put up with this since I first realized it was going on when I was four. I, for some genetically informed sense of self-worth, have always attributed that to envy.

I am a person who has seen, actually, not photographs of, but actual water fountains that have signs saying, "Colored only". How many people do you think are left that can give witness to that? So, I feel like I know the lay of the land. This has always gone on. Packs of animals or a mother of a single animal, ostracize or often kill, or in some way reject one born out of the norm. Recent news stories show that humans also do this.

The thing that is different, besides there being massively greater numbers of humans to report on, is tolerance.  There is none.  And the lack of tolerance is more malignant than the discrimination. Somebody somewhere is suing because they believe their daughter did not make the cheer leading squad because she has brown hair and there are already too many brown hairs and not enough blondes. Don't worry about the redheads. There is always the "token" redhead.

If something doesn't go according to plan, for instance you get shot and maimed during a robbery attempt, the first reaction is to sue.  They should have posted they do not welcome robbers.  They should have posted they were armed against intruders.  To carry it to a ridiculous point, I am suing because my line of work, robbing, thieving, stealing, etc. is my only legitimate way to support myself because of my abusive childhood, etc. and no one will allow me to freely practice my chosen trade. 

When there were fewer people, maybe it was easier to tolerate differences.  But I think that the practice of intolerance grows and reaps so many benefits, successful lawsuits, special accommodation, free telephones, etc., that it is epidemic. People see and hear of the results of the positive  reactions to intolerance that they look for personal flags to carry.  You are doing that just because I am this.

I have unsubscribed from four news services feeds on facebook this week because I can't let anything roll by without putting my two cents in and it was getting the best of me.  But I have commented over and over, "Why do you need this bandwagon to follow behind you and support you?"  "Why can you not just be proud of yourself and what you have accomplished, (despite the fact that you are tall or short or skinny or fat, or feminine or masculine, or spotted or striped) and realize that you did such a good job because you could and you wanted to and you made yourself or let yourself do it?"  That it doesn't  matter whether the black or yellow or red or pink people gave you encouragement. You did a fine job.  You did the very best you could.  Stop looking for someone to blame.  Stop looking for excuses for your shortfalls. Then you won't even notice whether no other purple person is allowed to do that because they are purple. Because all the purple people are busy doing their very best. For themselves.

Photo attribution:

Saturday, February 28, 2015

That's All Folks

No books for sale at Amazon anymore.

They made me take them down for some copyright problem. May get around to fixing 5 manuscripts.

Meanwhile, Smashwords, who always did more for me anyway.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

My Fitbit and Me

I received a Fitbit for Christmas.  No insult.  I wanted one.  I had a little trouble putting it on, but with the help of three people, I figured it out and now I can do it all by myself.  I had a little trouble understanding how to use it.  Where to look for help is a little confusing, but customer service is really nice.

It kind of bothered me that I could run up and down two flights of stairs all day doing laundry and it would say I took five steps, but I try not to put it in context, and as long as it says I walked more or burned more calories I am fine with that.

I had a little difficulty understanding the sleep program which I was particularly interested in.  This is where info conflicted, but I set it up.  First time it said I slept seven minutes.  Probably not accurate, but whatever. I wore it constantly and thought I was aces.  I even wore it in the shower sometimes.  Only sometimes.  It says it is shower proof, but you are not going to pull the wool over this old girl's eyes.  Usually.

Then one night, I set it for going to bed.  I guess they don't care what you do in there.  The next morning I took it off to get in the shower and forgot to put it back on right away.  When I noticed that, I put it on and went to my computer to see what it said.  It said I slept for 68 hours.

For my age, I think I am doing fairly well with all this technology stuff. 

Monday, February 02, 2015

Thanks For What?

Let’s try third person. Probably inappropriate story, so maybe you don’t want to read it.

The Most Horrible Thanksgiving Ever Which Blighted Many More and Occasionally Echoes

Once a very young and pregnant girl was due December 18. She ordered special toys and a furry white bunting for the baby. But the baby was stillborn on November 18th.

On the way to auntie Edie’s traditional Thanksgiving feast, the young girl with the aching breasts and broken heart spent the ride thinking how she would be expected to not be grim and ruin everyone’s day. She practiced a cheerful countenance. She wore bright clothes.

There was a gruesome accident on the interstate. At least 3 ambulances were having gurneys wheeled into them. Arriving at the destination, cheerful auntie inquired about the niece’s well being. After all, the girl had 6 or 7 days to get over her trauma, which, in those days, no one acknowledged. When the girl mentioned the horrible accident, of course symbolizing her personal loss, she began to weep. Auntie Cheer said one should count one’s blessings and give thanks for them on this wonderful day which was cold, grey and drizzly. A cousin, a Jesuit priest, you know, the guys that ran the Spanish Inquisition and invented waterboarding, said he heard she lost a baby and better luck next time.

When the broken girl returned the expensive fuzzy bunting, the store clerk said, “Didn’t it fit?” The young lady said, “The baby died.” When she left the store, she felt she had been very cruel to the clerk.

This is why Xanax is such a popular drug. It fills the holes in the brain and the heart. No. It puts band-aids on them.

Image Attribution: