Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tickled on Tuesday

Back in 2003, while I waited for my debut novel to release, I joined with other authors affiliated with my publisher and purchased an ad with the Romantic Times. In order to take advantage of the savings offered at that time, I had to submit an ARC for review. Boy was I scared.

The Internet publishing industry was still fairly new, and the reviews of most e-books I read weren't kind. In fact, I thought the reviewers were much more critical of small press offerings. I was proven wrong with my very first review ever.

Last night, I was searching on Google for information about 'Ginger Simpson' and found the old review. What I find very strange is somehow, my NEW cover, the one created by Eternal Press has been tied to the old copy. Nothing else changed...just the cover. I read the review again, and recalled how awed I was to be a debut author and get such a wonderful surprise. I really thank the reviewer for overlooking the amateur mistakes I made in the first copy. Somehow, she wove through all the passive voice, intermittent head-hopping, and wayyyy more tags than I should have used, to find and enjoy the story. Thank you Susan...I still love you even though I don't know you. *lol*

RT Rating: 4
Category: HISTORICAL
Setting: 1800s, Dakota Plains
Publisher: www.wings-press. com (Now http://www.eternalpress.ca)
Published: May 2003 Buy Now at Amazon (Yep, it's still there, but re-released 3/09)

Note from GS - Downloads are available at Eternal Press, Fictionwise, and other ebook sites, while print is available through me or at Amazon.com.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After a whirlwind marriage, Cecile and Walt set out across the prairie to fulfill Walt's dream of building a ranch. Cecile finds that frontier life is quite different from the pampered life she led. She befriends Lone Eagle, an injured Sioux warrior, while Walt is away. When he fails to return, her pregnancy and the realization that she cannot survive alone force her to join Lone Eagle's tribe.
With Lone Eagle, Cecile finds a second chance at love and a new family. However, her life is shattered when a trader raises the possibility that Walt is alive. Cecile begins an agonizing journey that forces her to choose not only between the two men she loves, but also between the white man's world and her Sioux family.
PRAIRIE PEACE is a wonderfully poignant story about second chances and new beginnings. Amid the romance, Simpson intersperses thought-provoking portrayals of frontier hardships, the Sioux nation and the prejudices of that era. You're sure to remember this story long after you've turned the last page. SENSUAL (May, 261 pp.)

—Susan Mitchell

____________________________________________________________________________________

One thing I've discovered when I Google my own name...you can't take back anything you ever posted. Information is there forever. There are things out there I'd long forgotten...like having a page on Author's Den. It was great fun to go back and read some of my old interviews. I guess having a bad memory does serve a purpose. I felt like I was reading them for the first time. *smile* I never realized so many other share my name...a TV producer, a horsewoman, a retired Navy officer who is also an author... And I thought I was an original.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A TISKET A TASKET, PUT ROMANCE IN YOUR BASKET


NOTE: Contest begins on April 1st.

Instead of my usual Monday Mania, I'm proud to announce I'm part of Skhye Moncrief's Spring contest. She's prepared the following blurb for each person to post...of course I personalized it a bit to fit the occasion and provided links for your ease in traveling from site to site. You'll be led back to my site on April 15th...TAX day, oh joy! Have a good time on your travels.

Spring is in the air! Bees are buzzing. Children anxiously await the big morning where they can graze on candy all day. What about mom? We've got a treat for you! Come join a group of romance authors in celebration of spring. Enter to win a prize a day as well as enter to win the grand prize. All you need do is begin on April 1st at Silver James' Blog. Silver will host the day's contest and provide the link to the next day's location. Don't forget to enter to win the grand prize! Here's the dirt...

A TISKET A TISKET, PUT ROMANCE IN YOUR BASKET Grand Prize:
To enter to win prizes from the authors donating treasures to the grand prize (see each day's post for what an author is donating to the grand prize), find the four Easter eggs in the A TISKET A TISKET, PUT ROMANCE IN YOUR BASKET blog event. Each decorated egg is clearly posted. I'd show you what it looks like, but that would just confuse you, since there isn't one here. *smile*

Just visit all of the authors' websites, locate the 4 eggs, make a list of their locations by pasting the urls to the website pages in an e-mail, then send the entry to Happy Endings by midnight CST on May 1st, 2009. The winner will be randomly drawn and announced March 2nd at Skhye Moncrief's website.

Tip #1, subscribe to http://blog.skhyemoncrief.com to learn if you're the winner! And don't worry. If you start in on the blog event late, just head back to Silver James' blog on April 1st at Silver James' to begin your website search for the Easter eggs. Don't miss the fun! See you next to the burgundy tulips. ~Skhye

As you know, contests of these types are meant to garner new readers and fans while providing a fun pastime. Please leave a comment on the sites you visit to let the participants know if this type of contest is something you really enjoy. Take the time to browse and who knows...you might find a book you just have to read. I know I always appreciate feedback, so...On April 1st, don't be a fool...join in the fun.

Hugz,
ginger

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Indian Mothers and Wives

If you're like me, you suffer from days when you feel overwhelmed. My life, compared to when my children were young, is so much easier, yet age has slowed me down considerably. It's only when I research those who lived in the 'old west' that I'm reminded how really simple my life has been.

This picture was borrowed from the collection at First People and shows a Comanche woman and her child. Let's consider what her day was like...along with all the other Native American women of her time.

Although I was never a seamstress, I imagine there are still some women today who take great pride in making their own dresses. My best friend, Pat, now deceased, always loved browsing fabric stores for material, patterns, buttons and threads with which to work. Often, I slugged along behind her, totally uninterested in the whole idea. Give me a rack of store-ready garments any day, Imagine living in a time when fabrics weren't readily available, and if you didn't sew, you went naked.

Native American women didn't have the luxury of shopping for their wares. The daunting task of outfitting and caring for their entire family fell to them. No pampers, no huggies, not even a cloth diaper. No playpens, no cribs, not even a receiving blanket...unless someone made it from an animal hide. No coffee cup for your morning brew, no bowl to hold your cereal. No place to put your child while you worked, unless you carried him/her on your back.

The husband's job was to hunt and keep his family fed, and that often included the whole tribe. Survival wasn't easy and tribal affiliations were sacred. When one brave died or was killed, others stepped in to care for those he left behind. Living was a group effort, and what food not used up was dried and stored for leaner times. During the era when buffalo were plentiful, Native American's relied upon them for survival. Unlike white hunters who took only the hides, nothing was wasted by the Indians.

After the braves felled the mighty beasts, the women converged upon the carcasses and stripped them bare. Bones, tendons, tongues...nothing was left behind because everything had a purpose. The same for most other animals killed for food. The women were responsible for transporting the treasures back to the village, then carving, wrapping and drying the meat before she could consider what to do with the fur.

From animals came the material for clothing and the sinew to create the thread to hold them together...even the bones provided the 'needle' with which fashions were created. BUT...before any sewing took place, the hides were scrubbed, dried, scraped, dried again, and sometimes placed on stretching racks. Once the hide was softened, it was ready for use.

I've often read of Native American women chewing deer hide to soften it for moccasins. But, the women did what was required of them, relying on teachings handed down through the ages. When time came to move the village from one site to another, it was the women who disassembled and reassembled the lodges.

While white women held quilting bees, Indian women faced the arduous tasks of not just creating the robes that kept out the cold, but the skins to cover their tepees, and every piece of clothing worn, right down to the moccasins on their family's feet. True, the life of a pioneer woman was no picnic and presented many trials and tribulations, but imagine life where everything you use was made by hand or designed from animal remains. Sort of puts things into a different perspective, doesn't it?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hunks and Heroes - Friday Fiction


I will follow the white man's trail. I will make him my friend, but I will not bend my back to his burdens. I will be cunning as a coyote. I will ask him to help me understand his ways, then I will prepare the way for my children. Maybe they will outrun the white man in his own shoes.

There are but two ways for us. One leads to hunger and death, the other leads to where the poor white man lives. Beyond is the happy hunting ground where the white man cannot go.


Many Horses - Oglala Sioux - Found at First People

This is a most interesting site with tons of information on Native American tribes. The problem...search as I might, I can't find a single picture that has any resemblance to those posted yesterday by Skhye Moncrief during her visit here. *lol*

There's no denying that Native Americans are a strong and resilient people...ones to be admired for their bravery, stamina and beliefs. I have a fascination with the Sioux, for reason's I can't explain...perhaps a past life. I always tend to migrate to descriptions that now appear not quite accurate, but what woman doesn't want to fantasize about tall, dark, and handsome? I don't think Many Horses fits the description, do you?

One of the great things about writing Fiction, is that I'm allowed to be creative. My job is to paint an 'appealing' picture in the reader's mind of my hero, and when I dream of him, I know darn well that in real life, someone who looks like my descriptions wouldn't give me the time of day. Imagine you're in a romantic mood and pick up a novel about a woman who has been captured by a fierce tribal chief. Which scene would you prefer:

His piercing ebony eyes sparked with interest when she entered the tepee. She shielded the tear in her dress with crossed arms and tried to deny his appeal. She was, after all, his captive and destined to be with him forever. The doeskin shirt he wore clung to muscular arms and spanned a broad chest. The vee-neck allowed a glimpse of his smooth bronzed skin. He sat cross-legged near the fire pit, his thighs exposed and the fringe from his boots grazing the ground. His angular jaw tightened when she sat across from him. He lowered the chunk of rabbit he ate and licked the grease from his full lips.

OR

His weathered and lined face lit up when she entered the teepee. She shielded the tear in her dress with crossed arms and tried to muster up interest in him. Sadly, she was his captive and doomed to a life with the old fart. The doeskin shirt he wore hung from his undernourished body and sagged into a concave chest. The vee-neck allowed her to glimpse the darkness of his wrinkled skin. He sat cross-legged near the fire pit, his skinny legs exposed and the fringe from his boots grazing the ground. The slack skin about his jaw tightened somewhat when she sat across from him. He lowered the chunk of rabbit he gummed, and washed the grease from his lips with his tongue.

Okay...I know our heroes don't have to be perfect, but it does't hurt to paint a pretty image. If I'm going to be someone's captive, I like a piece of eye candy to stare at. How about you?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Native Americans and romantic fiction




Native Americans, anyone?




Ginger recently confessed she loved researching Native Americans. So, I thought I'd drop a few incredible resources I used for my latest release (print so far, e-book on April 3rd), FORBIDDEN ETERNITY. I've written a shamanic shape-shifting hero who has more than one chip on his shoulder. You would too if the guys you were trapped with in the Army called you Cochise, but you weren't Apache. No. Cochise (named by his peers with what he considers a name representing a phase of his life in which he made very bad choices) is Lakota.


Let's just say he can DISH IT OUT! And he can take it. ;)


Here's my model for Cochise, Mr. Drop-Dead Gorgeous Jay Tavare...




















Sorry. I, uh, forgot what I was talking about...


(Stop looking at pictures, Skhye!)


Oh, wait. I remember!




So, what's the difference between Apaches and the Lakota? You're thinking they both lived on the Great Plains, rode war ponies, counted coup, and looked down-right gorgeous and tough in loincloths... Okay, you haven't read Thomas E. Mails' DOG SOLDIER SOCIETIES OF THE PLAINS. If you want to get the arrows right by culture or understand a culture's rituals, get this book! Each Plains people's warrior societies are described in great detail. And if you're searching for a way to allow your female characters (captives or not) to wield weapons and participate in battle, this reference book will tell you who can get away with what. DOG SOLDIER SOCIETIES OF THE PLAINS is a college-level text. But it won't put you to sleep. Okay, maybe I should say it didn't lull me to sleep. ;) I've always been enthralled by Native Americans. And I've got over 80 hours of anthropology under my belt. So, the geek in me knows I'm an outlying exception to the rule on the vast continuum of delightful to boring.


Another wonderful resource for all those writing contemporaries with Native-American characters is Hyemeyohsts Storm's SEVEN ARROWS. The easiest way to explain this book is to compare it to a self-help version of something akin to the Bible. First of all, you get the low-down on the four directions, medicine arrows, medicine wheels, etc. Then Storm begins the journey of the self. Each aspect of his belief system is taught by a story he tells. Chapter by chapter, you experience the sharing of his knowledge. And it's quite moving. The Bible put me to sleep. ;)



And yet another thought-provoking read is Frederick Drimmer's CAPTURED BY INDIANS: 15 FIRSTHAND ACCOUNTS, 1750-1870. I'm a big cheerleader for underdogs. I confess! This leaves me with strange interests... But CAPTURED BY INDIANS is by no means a handful of weird tales. Rather, it a collection of 15 true stories about white captives. So, you want to know what captives thought of Native Americans? Well, they often preferred living with them. ;) Curious?



Jack Weatherford's NATIVE ROOTS: HOW THE INDIANS ENRICHED AMERICA is an essential eye-opening read for those working on historicals with Native-American characters. It's amazing how much fear and hatred was recorded in history--another expression of the bias one cannot shake in recording history.



Erdoes & Ortiz's AMERICAN INDIAN MYTHS AND LEGENDS has been around for a while. But I always flip through it when wanting to round out a character with a bit of ideology. What can this book do for you? The myths and legends are broken down by culture. Yes. You just skim the table of contents and find the tales you'll need to read. Extra information about the cultures is located at the end of the book. I've used this book so many times that I recommend anyone writing a Native-American character own a copy. Ideology really rounds out a perspective.



So what does Skhye do with this type of reference material? In FORBIDDEN ETERNITY, Cochise is a modern who man raised on a reservation, exposed to many Native-American cultures, and gained an appreciation for different peoples. By the time FORBIDDEN ETERNITY takes place, he is quite worldly. But what makes him real to me are all of the myths and legends I've studied and the touching manner Storm shares his beliefs in SEVEN ARROWS. I've acquired a wealth of knowledge through the years and hope Cochise shares a bit of that information with readers. But his story is a dark paranormal...


FORBIDDEN ETERNITY

Sometimes the forbidden proves the only cure.

In present-day Scotland, a shape-shifting shaman and a Druid embrace the forbidden to safeguard history from renegade gods bent on sabotaging history by kidnapping the Goddess of Time.

A woman Cochise despises is his only hope for a future. He has no choice except to swallow his pride and protect Druidess Mairi from a man who is blackmailing her into breaking time-travel Code by kidnapping her sister. But his presence tempts Mairi into risking her sister’s life in falling in love. A fairy hairball and a pack of Hell Hounds force the duo to hide on an astral plane where there is no resolution beyond facing their FORBIDDEN ETERNITY.



You're invited to read the 1st chapter at...





Read another story for FREE...



VOW OF SUPERSTITION: DRAGON'S BLOOD


When legends speak of passion, Lady Lainy chalks all up to superstition until forced to take Dragon’s Blood at her arranged marriage. Will the beast’s poison herald a life full of love, or will she find myth loaded with lies when facing her father’s VOW OF SUPERSTITION?
http://www.thewildrosepress.com/vow-of-superstition-dragons-blood-p-840.html



CONTEST ALERT!


And to make certain everyone has fun beyond checking out Jay's pictures today, I'm giving away a small medicine pouch to one lucky winner. I believe this one has a dream catcher on it. But something decorative nonetheless. I say "I believe" because the box it's inside is buried in my garage with the rest of my office. And I don't have time to dig out said box at the moment but will this weekend. Just leave me a comment about what draws you to Native-American tales by midnight, CST today. I'll randomly draw a winner and post the name here tomorrow.



I'd also like to note I blog about reference books at http://blog.skhyemoncrief.com/. I've been known to hold contests there. So, you get two perks for the price of one. ;)



You can also find me at:







Thanks for having me over, Ginger. ~Skhye

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Perfect Change

The government today announced it is changing its national symbol to a CONDOM because it more accurately reflects the government's political stance. A condom allows for inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation, protects a bunch of pricks, and gives you a sense of security while you're actually being screwed. Never before has a symbol held a truer meaning.


I'd give credit to the person who masterminded this creative piece, but I have no idea who did. It's something being passed around via email and I thought I'd share. And no, I didn't verify it on Snopes. *lol*

Monday, March 23, 2009

Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned

Why am I reminded of this? Every morning when I wake up with good ideas about writing, publishing, editing, etc, they are overshadowed by things that seem so much more important. Honestly, since I started watching Fox news and reading some of the affiliated blogs, I can't stop...and I'm scared. I fear President Obama has his hand in so many pots, he really isn't concentrating on our safety. How can he be, when the woman he appointed as the head of Homeland Security won't even allow the word 'terrorist' in her vocabulary. Janet Napolitano previously oversaw the glorious state of Arizona, where the greatest infiltration of aliens still takes place. She didn't want a wall guarding her borders.

Michelle Malkin had this on her blog: http://www.michellemalkin.com
While a few big firms, such as Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase, have curtailed their campaign giving, others are quietly doling out cash to select members of Congress, particularly those who serve on committees that oversee TARP. In recent filings with the Federal Election Commission, the political action committee for Bank of America (which got $15 billion in bailout money) sent out $24,500 in the first two months of 2009, including $1,500 to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and another $15,000 to members of the House and Senate banking panels. Citigroup ($25 billion) dished out $29,620, including $2,500 to House GOP Whip Eric Cantor, who also got $10,000 from UBS which, while not a TARP recipient, got $5 billion in bailout funds as an AIG “counterparty.” “This certainly appears to be a case of TARP funds being recycled into campaign contributions,” says Brett Kappell, a D.C. lawyer who tracks donations. (A spokesman for Cantor did not respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Hoyer said it’s his “policy to accept legal contributions.”


Is everyone corrupt in Washington? I'm still stewing over the billions given to Palestinians. Has the President forgotten we have homeless and needy people wandering the streets of this country, too? It pains me to admit that I used to be one of the 'uninformed' whose curiosity was piqued by the high numbers of homeless men until I discovered why. Under our current laws, they are not eligible for anything other than food stamps. Shelters are full, they have no access to homes, so I can imagine that bridges and overpasses might look pretty appealing when the temperatures dip into the teens. People complain about them pissing in the streets...where would you suggest they pee? I guess the old adage, "Walk a mile in my shoes,' takes on new meaning, but who among us would want to step into their worn and frayed boots? Yes...most appear to be Vets. Somehow that makes it even sadder in my book.

Sadly, it seems President Obama is destined to destroy our alliance with the leaders of other countries. He threw Poland under the bus when he withdrew our support for their safety, he sent a letter to the Russian President that was construed in a cowardly light, and now after many years, they are rearming their nuclear weapons. When the English Prime Minister visited...after Obama returned the bust of Churchill which had been prominently displayed in the White house, our President treated him poorly then insulted him further with a set of DVDs that only formatted to play in North America. Now he's followed a video to Iran, also marking him as a coward and asking for peaceful surrender with a letter to the President of France in which Obama states he looks forward to future joint endeavors. He sent the letter to Jacques Chirac who hasn't been France's President for TWO YEARS! It should have gone to the current President, Nicolas Sarkozi.

A recent criticism stated Obama used the word "crisis" twenty-five times in a speech, then complained that people are too negative about the economy. If none of this makes you worry, then you must have nerves of steel. If we keep our heads buried in the sand, pretty soon the remainder of our bodies will be buried there, too.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

From Leno to Dancing with the Stars

It doesn't appear that the economic downturn has affected the exorbitant wages paid those who "entertain." Does anyone else find this appalling?

I have two family members who have lost their jobs, one unable to find another and facing expiring benefits. No longer will she be able to take advantage of that luxurious $25.00 increase recently approved by the President. She's not eligible for Dancing with the Stars, and even if she becomes so depressed she turns to drugs and alcohol, she can't qualify for Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew because she's basically a 'nobody.'

But the good news...I hear President Obama's appearance on Leno was so impressive, he may be appearing on Dancing with the Stars next season. Maybe he can "wow" the world leader's he's offended and win back some of their respect. Ya think?

But hey, the wages are great even if he gets booted. He might be able to fill a gap in the budget deficit with his earnings.

Borrowed from Andrew Gumbel - The Wrap | Thursday, March 19, 2009, 5:45 PM

Stars on a multi-character scripted drama can make upwards of $50,000 an episode – sometimes way upward. On reality shows, celebrities get what is referred to as Most Favored Nation status -- which means nobody gets more than anybody else. The celebs on "Dancing With the Stars," for example, get $200,000 for the entire season, [See celebrity reality TV payments on The Wrap] whether they're booted or not, a bonus of $100,00 if they're number one, a smaller bonus if they're number two, an even smaller bonus if they're number 3, a top TV agent told The Wrap.

So Marie Osmond made what Emmitt Smith made, what Cloris Leachman made, what Belinda Carlisle made this season -- and she was the first celeb booted off.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Blowing Smoke


I invite you... no urge you, to read Michelle Malkin's blog today, Look Beyond the Bogus Bonus Smokescreen.

Americans have to stand up and do something, and blogging is all I can contribute because I have no idea how ONE person can make a difference. We're not being just robbed, but raped of our dignity and treated like mushrooms, kept in a dark closet and fed manure to sustain us. Like the gays...it's time to come out of the closet, people! What has happened to intelligence in our country. Only a few in the government seem not to have lost theirs.

Just when I get over the shock and anger of yesterday's news, I'm slapped in the face again. I watched a Fox News anchor interview an American author of Iranian descent last night about her views on President Obama's speech to the Iranian people. Speaking as someone very much in the know about the people and culture, she pointed out our president accomplished absolutely nothing in making headway toward peace, rather lost any shred of respect and gave more credence to the plan of the crazed leader of the Iranian people. Ahmadinejad feels he is the 'one' to usher in the coming of their messiah, but some sort of Holocaust must occur beforehand. Why else would Iran be gathering materials for a nuclear weapon?

Here's a statement from him, made last June...and now they are so much closer to making this happen. Are you going to sit back and watch? Evidently, since President Obama sees fit to disassociate the US with a nation who has been our ally for over 50 years.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predicted on Monday that Muslims would uproot "satanic powers" and repeated his controversial belief that Israel will soon disappear, the Mehr news agency reported.

To me, our new administration is all about finger-pointing and problem MAKING rather than solving. I'd be afraid to walk through congress for fear of being poked in the eye. The truth is... they are ALL at fault. Correct me if I'm wrong, but a bill requires signatures for approval, and if someone signed the bill without knowing what they signed, then they are just as guilty as Tim Geithner, although he should never have been appointed. Who can't remember to pay their taxes when the television is filled with constant ads about filing deadlines and "having people?"

Honestly, I had great faith in our new president, but every day it waned. That's actually an understatement...it really bottomed-out. How can someone who just signed a bill with 8500 earmarks stand before the American public and speak about banishing wasteful spending? Does he even hear himself or is he too busy following a teleprompter? Pinocchio's nose grew when he told lies, and I'm starting to notice Obama's lips become more blue-tinged the more he talks. Do you think it's a sign?

How dare me consider I had a original thought here. I decided to Google "Blue Lips" and found a whole lot of discussion about the pigmentation of Obama's lips. Check it out yourself and you'll see what I mean. His lip coloring could be a medical condition, but the majority feel it's not, at least nothing serious and that's a good thing. But...whatever it is, it seems to be affected by telling untruths.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Words from a Wise Man


I am sharing a post from Alan West an African-American citizen, campaigning for a Congressional position in Florida. Lt. Col. Alan West retired
from the military in 2004, and was a civilian advisory to the Afghan Army until 2007. In his Army career, Col. West has been honored many times. Lt. Col. West received a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals (one with Valor), and a Valorous Unit Award. He received his valor award as a Captain in Desert Shield/Storm. I admire his tenacity to stand up against what's so obviously wrong. Here are his own words:

I am truly angry about what is happening in our America, and since there are no such voices coming off Capitol Hill from Republican leadership......someone has to fight back, let it be me!

We have the Blair-Holt Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act as well as this Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act sitting in the House of Reps. We had best wake the hell up and realize that these liberal socialists have lost their minds.
Washingtoons

17 March 2009

Lieutenant Colonel Allen B West (US Army, Retired)

Greetings fellow South Florida riders, South Floridians, and Americans, here we are for another monthly installment of our Wheels on the Road political assessment. It is hard to believe how fast a month flies by but it seems that we have been under the Obama administration for years; perhaps it is the everyday speeches.

I hate speeches.

I pride myself in being a person of calm demeanor, unless of course you are Attorney General Eric Holder and you call my America a “nation of cowards”. So as I begin this month’s article I find myself on the verge of total rage which is great for writing.

In these first 60 days of the Obama administration I am beginning to have concern over issues of national security. There have been some very disturbing trends which I will share in this month’s column.

It first started right after the coronation; I mean inauguration, with the first phone call going to Mahmoud Abbas. Last time I checked the leader of the displaced Arab nomad group in the West Bank called Fatah was not a National leader, or ally. Considering all the other key allies who have stood by the United States, why was this gentleman first for a new President to call?

Next came the series of executive orders which commanded we shut down Guantanamo Bay (GITMO) detention facility, stop any harsh treatment of terrorists, and ceased any ongoing military trials against those being held. Now just recently we have heard from the infamous GITMO 5 who have claimed they take utmost pride in what they have accomplished to include the atrocities of 9-11.

We know that some 60 released detainees went right back to the battlefield to include several who are now leaders in Yemen and Afghanistan. Some would say this recidivism rate is low, however, not when you are the US man or woman in uniform overseas fighting.

As of 13 March we have been instructed by this administration that we can no longer call these fellas “enemy combatants”. Hmm, lets see, how about we call them “Friendly Frustrated Freedom Fighters”? I am certain we should consult Dr Phil for a proper means to address these cheeky fellows without damaging their self-esteem.

New Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently stated in an interview that she found using the term terrorism nuanced. She preferred using the term “man created disasters”. Well, Secretary Napolitano, if there is another “man created disaster” perpetrated by “Friendly Frustrated Freedom Fighters” Americans not take that too kindly.

Does an IED fall into the category of a “man created disaster”?

Soon after the series of executive orders focusing on GITMO the President gave his first TV interview, with Al Arabiya. During that interview he remarked about a return to better relations with the Muslim world, like 30 years ago. Perhaps the President did not realize that in Iran they have been celebrating the 30 year anniversary of the Islamic revolution.

I remember that being a very sad and embarrassing episode in American history, can you say Embassy hostages?

At a time when we are having serious economic issues the American taxpayers are now sending $900 Million to the Gaza Strip for rebuilding. The “political” entity controlling Gaza is called Hamas, and they are a “Friendly Frustrated Freedom Fighter” organization. I can certainly bet that the only thing being rebuilt will be tunnels from Egypt into Gaza.

Along with that piece of change, is, by executive order, $20.3 Million going to resettle pro-Hamas Palestinians to the USA…..did anyone ask the American people about this?

First planned foreign country visit? Turkey, where “Friendly Frustrated Freedom Fighter” ideology is taking root (I call it radical Islamic ideology, but don’t tell anyone, I could be arrested for hate speech).

So far the President’s only visit to a US military installation was to Camp Lejeune NC, home of the US Marine II Expeditionary Force, a place where I spent three great years. The purpose was to announce his plan for withdrawal from Iraq.

Could you imagine Alexander the Great telling his Macedonians, “well guys, that whole bit about conquering the world, I was just kidding, let’s go home”. Warriors want to be inspired.

President Obama and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have both referred to our ICE agents as terrorizing Hispanics and being un-American. That should really inspire them to protect us against illegal immigrants.

Ok, you are asking so what? Well, this is the so what, President Obama has decided that our wounded warriors and others with service related injuries will have to use private insurance. AFLAC does not send our men and women into harm’s way to defend our way of life, the Constitution mandates the government do so.

The so what is that why are we placating and appeasing the enemy while abandoning those who stay on the wall protecting our America? That has me fuming and truly concerned about the loyalties of this President.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned; our President Barack Hussein Obama has Wednesday evening parties in the White House.

How did we get to this point? NOTE from Ginger: I want to know, too.)

Ride Hard, Ride Safe, AW

Friday Fiction

Announcing my upcoming release, Hope Springs Eternal. It will be available on April 7th, and I'll be at The Launch Party all that day, celebrating. Hope you'll join me.

The release of this novel completes my Stages of Love series, and all will eventually be available in both download and PRINT. Ally Robertson, the CEO of Eternal Press made an astonishing decision to put even the novellas in print format. What a wonderful concept, because it allows us to maintain a 'bragging' copy of our work, as well as purchasing them for gifts, prizes, and more. Amazing Grace, just got posted on Amazon.com today, joining my other full-length EP releases, Sparta Rose, Sarah's Journey, and Prairie Peace. Chastity's Charms, Forever Faith, and Hope Springs Eternal will soon join the list, as will Paging Dr. Jones. How cool is that?

Hope this teaser will entice you to want to read more...you know, that's why we post them. *smile*

EXCERPT
Hope stopped in the doorway of Dr. Carlson’s office and eyed the framed diplomas hanging behind his mahogany desk. His background appeared quite impressive. She scanned the other three walls for pictures of a wife and children but saw none.

She took a seat in one of two leather armchairs and tried to look at ease. Still fighting nerves, she crossed and uncrossed her ankles, straightened her blouse and tucked her shoulder-length hair behind her ears. Reaching into her purse, she opened her compact, and applied fresh lipstick. Even at home, it was a ritual.

As she grinned into the mirror, checking her teeth for stains, she caught his reflection. She snapped the oval mirror shut and jammed it back into her pocketbook, but not before seeing the redness in her cheeks.

“Sorry about the wait.” He walked behind his desk, sat and began flipping through a chart.

She felt certain a hint of a smile crossed his face before he sobered. He glanced up at her. “I don’t see any current medications in your records. Dr. Smith prescribed Valium for you some time ago, but that’s all I’m seeing in his notes.”

“I’m not taking anything at the present time. That prescription was to help me deal with the death of my husband.” Her shoulders tensed at the memory.

Dr. Carlson’s brow creased. “Oh, I’m… I’m so sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you, but I’m doing fine. It’s been three years already.” She started to add that time heals all wounds, but it was a lie. She still missed Alan so much she often cried herself to sleep at night. At the thought of him, she blinked back tears.

“So, you aren’t taking any prescribed meds at this time?”

“No.” She uncrossed her ankles.

“Anything over the counter?”

“No.” She crossed her knees.

“Do you have any medical issues you’d like to discuss with me?”

She shook her head. “Other than being tired on occasion, I feel pretty good most of the time.”

“No hot flashes or night sweats?”

What was he insinuating? She planted her feet firmly on the floor.

“None to speak of.” She made sure her tone held a hint of ice.

“Mood swings?”

Hope leaned toward the desk. “Dr. Carlson, why don’t you just ask me if I’m experiencing menopause? I was a nurse so I know all the symptoms.”

“I didn’t mean to insult you. I’m concerned with your blood pressure. It’s higher than normal, and sometimes…”

She took a deep breath and leaned back in her chair. “I had my last period a year ago. I lied about the flashes and sweating. I sometimes have both, but I refuse to take hormone replacement therapy because of the cancer risks. I’m sure my blood pressure is high because of stress. I’ve been trying to establish a home business, and….”

“I guess I should have read you chart more closely. I hadn’t noticed you’re a nurse.”

“Was…I’m not anymore.” She stared into her lap, uncomfortable with her confession.

“Sad. We’ve such a shortage of qualified people in the field. Do you mind if I ask why you left nursing?”

She looked up and shrugged. “My husband died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. He lingered for three weeks, while I sat by, helpless, unable to do anything for him. I realize people die every day, but watching him deteriorate went against the oath I took when I became a nurse. After that, I decided I didn’t have it in me to continue.”

Dr. Carlson swallowed. “I’m sorry to bring up such a painful topic for you.” He pulled a prescription pad from his desk drawer and began writing. When finished, he tore off the paper square and handed it across the desk. “This medication has nothing to do with menopause and carries no cancer risks we know of.”

Hope hesitated to take it and leaned further back in her chair.

He waggled the prescription at her. “As someone schooled in medicine, you must realize ignoring issues that can affect your heart health is foolhardy. This is purely to regulate your blood pressure. I want you to take the pills as directed, and I’d like to see you again in one month. By that time I’ll have the results of your tests and also a good idea if this medicine works for you. Do you have any questions?”

With a sigh, she reached out and took the paper. “None that come to mind.” She gazed past him and out the window. She had a million questions but none he could answer.

He stood and drew her attention back to him. “If you think of anything, feel free to call the office.” He extended his hand. “It was very nice to meet you.”

She rose and shook hands with him. Warmth spread up her arm and radiated into her chest. His eyes bored into her very soul, although she felt certain she’d imagined it. While holding his right hand, she made a cursory inspection of his left. He wore no wedding ring, but then lots of married men didn’t. She flashed a smile and released her grip. “Thank you. I’ll see you next month.”

After leaving his office, she stopped at the reception desk and made a return appointment. All of a sudden, having a mammogram didn’t seem like such a bad thing. It provided a reason for her to come back to see Dr. Carlson. She couldn’t get his sexy image out of her mind.

How old was he? Age was such a hard thing to judge on a man. Itwas hardly fair for him to know about her night sweats and hot flashes, and she only knew his name, what colleges he attended and that he didn’t wear a ring. But did it matter? He’d shown no interest in her other than as a patient, so why act like a teenager hoping for a date to the prom? There had to be some conflict of interest between patient and
doctor socializing. Unfortunately nothing conflicted with her interest in
him.

The waiting room was almost empty when she passed through it. Two pregnant women remained, chatting, laughing and comparing bellies. If only Alan had left her with a child, she wouldn’t be alone. The phrase, “no use crying over spilled milk” ran through her mind as she closed the door behind her and maneuvered back down the long
corridor. She stopped at the door marked, “Radiology.” It might as well have said “gallows” because an invisible noose already drained the moisture from her mouth.

She covered her left breast. “I’m sorry for what I’m about to put you
through, but I have no choice. Doctor’s orders.”

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday's Tourist

Help me welcome my guest today, Jannine Corti Petska,. Jannine has become a great friend as well as an inspiration. As small press authors, I think we can all agree that our royalty checks are not always as large as we would like them to be, but if you measure your wealth in friendship, then I'm much richer because of friends like this. Jannine is a talented author and she's here to tell you about her world travels. *smile*


Confessions of an Armchair Traveler

I was well-traveled until I turned 18 and took my last flight, and my first solo flight, to Italy. Since then, I haven't seen the inside of an airplane. It's been 38 years now, and I've developed a real fear of flying.

There goes the trip to Italy my husband wants to take. In fact, the only places we travel to are doable by car. I have taken Amtrak twice: to Fort Hood, Texas, and to Albuquerque, New Mexico. It isn't so bad if you don't mind sleeping with a train car full of strangers. I was afraid I'd wake up in the middle of nowhere, dumped because my snoring was rattling the windows.. I wouldn't have blamed them. Sometimes it wakes me up, too!

What does all this have to do with writing, you ask? That depends on whom you talk to. Most writers write from the heart, from life's experiences and/or travels. My books are mainly set in the American West or Italy. One can be reached by car or train. The other? Let's just say my heart races and my palms sweat just thinking about flying. Which leaves me to do my research through books, DVDs and online.

I'm amazed that I can capture any city or town so well, or so I've been told. Of course, this stokes the writer's ego in me. My first and only time in the most romantic place on earth was in Rome, living with my Italian Air Force General uncle and his family. He took me to nearby towns, and to the island of Ponza where he, my father and their siblings were born. Part of my experience was the foundation for one of my books, FOREIGN EXCHANGE, which I co-wrote with another author. It's steeped in intrigue and gives the reader a different perspective of the Eternal City. Unfortunately, this book is no longer in print.

For someone with a fear of flying, I have actually been all over the globe. In my mind only, of course, but that doesn't mean I haven't experienced the beauty and flavor of a city. After all, I am a writer, and I do have an imagination. I've been to Florence and crossed the Ponte Vecchio over the Arno River. Palermo, Sicily has the most interesting architectural styles, depending on what country controlled the city at the time structures were built. Then there was Naples, and Siena where the famed Palio (horse races) of medieval times is still a huge event in July and August. London. Wales. The Netherlands was fascinating with its many canals and windmills. I've also been to Corsica. It was fun stepping into medieval San Gimignano. At the moment I am in Andalusia, camped with a Gypsy clan. So you see, it doesn't matter if I step foot on an airplane. I can see the world from my comfy chair with my feet on the ground (or kicked up on a foot rest) and my sanity intact.

Would you like to travel to Northern Italy? How about Piemonte, Italy? Or Santa Fe, New Mexico? Then follow the links to my three available books and lose your senses in a banquet of history's rich past.

CARINA AND THE NOBLEMAN
Northern Italy, 1425
Book one of the Sisters of Destiny trilogy

The last thing Count Luciano Ruggero expected was to fall in love with a commoner. But Carina Gallo is the only woman to capture his interest and his heart. When he discovers she has psychic abilities, he is torn between keeping her secret and using her gift to locate his missing brother. Neither the count nor Carina know that her life is in danger until it is almost too late.

Book trailer at YouTube

Available through www.eternalpress.ca. Ebook also available at Fictionwise and ARe. Print book also available through Amazon.


KNIGHT'S DESIRE
Piemonte, Italy, 1336

Mariella Rizzoli seeks employment in Baron Romano DiSanto's castle, hoping to obtain the rights to her dead father's keep. When he bids her to seduce him for the keep, she will do whatever it takes to retain her home. But can she seduce the handsome knight without losing her heart to him?

Book trailer at YouTube .

An ebook short story available at www.thedarkcastlelords.com. Also available at Fictionwise and ARe.

REBEL HEART (2007 Aspen Gold finalist)
Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1872

When the woman he's sworn to protect finds herself in the middle of a range war, Beau Hamilton fights against losing his heart while defending Courtney Danning against the unscrupulous man fixing to run her out of town. But when their passion turns as hot as the Santa Fe sun, will their love in the untamed West prevail? Or will Beau's dark past tear them apart?

Available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Ebook available at Fictionwise and Coffeetime Romance Reviews and More.

Read the first chapter of each book at my website .

Thank you Ginger for having me as your guest blogger today.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday's Wisdom

I try to avoid doom and gloom, but this was something that needs to be shared.I planned to share my new book cover, but somehow this seemed a wee bit more important. We all live with our head in the sand when it comes to things like this, and it's time to straighten up and look around. Strangely, I considered Tennessee would always be a safe place. Apparently not, since according to Bare Naked Islam's Weblog where I got this picture, there is a training ground right in my backyard. Why is that? People training on our own soil to destroy us? Something is very wrong here. While I see by my 'poll' in the sidebar that humor is the leading draw to keep people coming back, I'm sorry, there is nothing remotely funny about this:

"AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ BY EVERY AMERICAN!
PLEASE PASS THIS ON."

Juval Aviv was the Israeli Agent upon whom the movie "Munich" was based. He was Golda Meir's bodyguard; she appointed him to track down and bring to justice the Palestinian terrorists who took the Israeli athletes hostage and killed them during the Munich Olympic Games. In a lecture in New York City a few weeks ago, he shared information that EVERY American needs to know -- but that our government has not yet shared with us.

He predicted the London subway bombing on the Bill O'Reilly show on Fox News stating publicly that it would happen within a week. At the time, O'Reilly laughed and mocked him saying that in a week he wanted him back on the show. But, unfortunately, within a week the terrorist attack had occurred. Juval Aviv gave intelligence (via what he had gathered in Israel and the Middle East ) to the Bush Administration about 9/11 a month before it occurred. His report specifically said they would use planes as bombs and target high profile buildings and monuments. Congress has since hired him as a security consultant.

Now for his future predictions. He predicts the next terrorist attack on the U.S. will occur within the next few months. Forget hijacking airplanes, because he says terrorists will NEVER try and hijack a plane again as they know the people onboard will never go down quietly again. Aviv believes our airport security is a joke -- that we have been reactionary rather than proactive in developing strategies that are truly effective.

For example: 1) Our airport technology is outdated. We look for metal, and the new explosives are made of plastic. 2) He talked about how some idiot tried to light his shoe on fire. Because of that, now everyone has to take off their shoes. A group of idiots tried to bring aboard liquid explosives. Now we can't bring liquids on board. He says he's waiting for some suicidal maniac to pour liquid explosive on his underwear; at which point, security will have us all traveling naked! Every strategy we have is 'reactionary.' 3) We only focus on security when people are heading to the gates. Aviv says that if a terrorist attack targets airports in the future, they will target busy times on the front end of the airport when/where people are checking in. It would be easy for someone to take two suitcases of explosives, walk up to a busy check-in line, ask a person next to them to watch their bags for a minute while they run to the restroom or get a drink, and then detonate the bags BEFORE security even gets involved. In Israel , security checks bags BEFORE people can even ENTER the airport.

Aviv says the next terrorist attack here in America is imminent and will involve suicide bombers and non-suicide bombers in places where large groups of people congregate. (i. e., Disneyland, Las Vegas casinos, big cities (New York, San Francisco, Chicago, etc.) and that it will also include shopping malls, subways in rush hour, train stations, etc., as well as rural America this time (Wyoming, Montana, etc.). The attack will be characterized by simultaneous detonations around the country (terrorists like big impact), involving at least 5-8 cities, including rural areas. Aviv says terrorists won't need to use suicide bombers in many of the larger cities, because at places like the MGM Grand in Las Vegas , they can simply valet park a car loaded with explosives and walk away.

Aviv says all of the above is well known in intelligence circles, but that our U. S. government does not want to 'alarm American citizens' with the facts. The world is quickly going to become 'a different place', and issues like 'global warming' and political correctness will become totally irrelevant.

On an encouraging note, he says that Americans don't have to be concerned about being nuked. Aviv says the terrorists who want to destroy America will not use sophisticated weapons. They like to use suicide as a front-line approach. It's cheap, it's easy, it's effective; and they have an infinite abundance of young militants more than willing to 'meet their destiny'. He also says the next level of terrorists, over which America should be most concerned, will not be coming from abroad. But will be, instead, 'homegrown' -- having attended and been educated in our own schools and universities right here in the U. S. He says to look for 'students' who frequently travel back and forth to the Middle East . These young terrorists will be most dangerous because they will know our language and will fully understand the habits of Americans; but that we Americans won't know/understand a thing about them.

Aviv says that, as a people, Americans are unaware and uneducated about the terroristic threats we will, inevitably, face. America still has only have a handful of Arabic and Farsi speaking people in our intelligence networks, and Aviv says it is critical that we change that fact SOON.

If there is any "silver lining" to this prediction, it is the absence of massive nuclear or biological attacks. Bombings of the type Aviv predicts may have the effect of both awakening and enraging segments of the American population who have been blithely dismissing terrorism as an outdated concern. The jihadists' swaggering preference for houri-fixated young shaheeds may have unexpected results in this country, where increasing numbers of citizens are already "up in arms" over the Obama administrations policies. The cry that went up after 9/11 -- "Who are they? Why do they hate us?" -- can now be answered comprehensively and convincingly by those of us who have made the effort to learn.

The text from this message came from Infidel Bloggers Alliance. If you really want to be shocked, you should visit the sites from where this information came, but warning...especially on Bare Naked Islam, there are videos posted that show horrendous things that happen around the world. If you aren't squeamish, prepare to be appalled.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday Trivia

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I totally missed Monday Mania yesterday, and I apologize. I decided to spend most of the day blubbering instead of blogging, but today I have a new perspective, have prayed about the problem, and feel much more positive because I have some wonderful friends who remind me that the glass is still half-full. My son lost his job yesterday...the one he's held faithfully for many years and hoped to retire from one day. This economy sucks, but there are so many others in his same situation, one can only hope that something will change for the better. I also have faith in my son and his many talents. He'll find a job to support his family, no matter what it entails. I truly believe there is nothing he can't do when he sets his mind to it. Of course it hurt more because he's my baby. If you mess with my children, it hurts me too, and I know other mothers relate. *smile* But on to more 'trivial' stuff.

Thanks to everyone who played last week. I had a great batch of entries and although not one got every question right, I was surprised at how much people know about their fairy tales. I've picked a winner, and she is: Becky Ward. Becky will be receiving a free copy of Sparta Rose (now available at Amazon in print.) I just found a wonderful review someone left there about it. :)

Here are the trivia answers:

1. Goldilocks ate up the mother bear's porridge. True or False?

2. In what year was "Sleeping Beauty" first published? 1634

3. In the original fairy tale, the prince renames Thumbelina to what name? Maia

4. What did Hansel and Gretel leave as a trail, in order to find their way home the second time? Breadcrumbs

5. What is the literal meaning of the name, Rumplestiltskin?
a. Wrinkled little man
b. Crazy little man
c. Little rattle stilt
d. Little name stealer

6. What color was the apple that the evil stepmother gave Snow White to eat?
a. white and red
b. red and yellow
c. green
d. red

7. Who published the original "Rapunzel" fairy tale?
a. The Grimm Brothers
b. Aarne Thompson
c. Aesop
d. Andrew Lang

8. In the tale of "Three Billy Goats Gruff," what lives under the bridge the goats must cross?
a. A goblin
b. A troll
c. A witch
d. A dragon

9. What were the names of the Three Little Pigs?
a. Oscar, Hamlet, Ribsy
b. Larry, Peter, Paul
c. Not mentioned
d. Twinkle, Winkle, Wrinkle

10. Who published "The Little Mermaid"?
a. Charles Perrault
b. Hans Christian Anderson
c. Charles Dickens
d. Jeanette Hassenpflug

11. "Beauty and the Beast" hails from what country?
a. Germany
b. England
c. Sweden
d. France

12. "Jack and the Beanstalk" is a well-known tale of a young man who deals with a giant at the end of a beanstalk. The giant usually said the following when a human was nearby: "Fee Fie Fo Fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman..." Complete the saying:
a. Be he live or be he dead, I grind his bones for my bread.
b. He might be alive, or he might be dead, The less we speak of him, the better said.
c. If he's alive of if he's dead, he better not steal my gold or bread.
d. Is he alive? Is he dead? The answer is something I do dread.

13. How did the frog turn into a prince in the original telling of the Grimm Brothers' "Frog Prince"?
a. A wish of the princess changed him
b. She kisses him
c. The princess throws him against the wall in disgust
d. Her father the king commanded the change

14. In the Norwegian fairy tale, "The Princess on the Glass Hill" (Or Glass Mountain), what three objects does she hold?
a. Golden apples
b. A ruby, a diamond, an emerald
c. A sword, a crown, a staff
d. Silver pears

15. Pinocchio, from the Italian fairy tale by Carlo Collodi, does not appreciate the advice given by the talking cricket. What does he do to get the cricket to stop?
a. Traps him in a jar
b. buries him in the garden
c. throws a hammer at him
d. feeds him to a crow

Again, thanks to funtrivia.com for providing the impetus for fun.

No trivia this week... instead I'd love if you went to Amazon and read the most current review left there. I love finding surprises like this. :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Going and Coming. Does It Really?

My entire life, I've heard that old adage, "what goes around, comes around." Does it really? I'm starting to believe that the saying is a loser's lament, made up to give hope that someone would eventually pay for pain suffered.

I don't know what 'it' is, but I've never seen it 'going around' and certainly never bore witness to when it 'comes around.'

Is there anyone out there who can show proof that what Goes around really does come around? Inquiring minds want to know.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Immigration at Work

For months, boxes being shipped by the company my husband hauls for have disappeared at random. Aspersions were cast on the drivers since many of said boxes were supposedly scanned onto trucks but never reached their destination. I feel it necessary to mention that the workforce in the warehouse are all hispanic, hired by a temporary agency and provided to the trucking company with the assurance that all backgrounds have been checked and verified. Seems not to be true, however. And NO...this is not about race.

Last week, the powers that be involved the police department, who stationed a detective in a vehicle across from the warehouse. On three separate occasions the officer witnessed two of the lead warehousemen bringing boxes to their cars. They were immediately arrested, and a warrant obtained to search their homes. A startling amount of merchandise, not taken only from said company, but from over venues was discovered. The recovered loot was loaded into a big rig and impounded along with the vehicles of the crooks. One man's wife was jailed, but released on bond because she has three children. Wanna bet they were all born here? It's likely since one of the felons has been here for thirteen years.

For months, I've been telling my husband I believed the boxes never made it to the trucks...the goods were disappearing before being loaded. If I could figure this out why couldn't someone else? Why didn't they install cameras? People are a lot less likely to engage in illegal habits if they believe they are being filmed. Simple enough, don't you think?

Anyhow...to get to the topic... these men were in the country illegally. They had obtained fraudulent documents and were hired without any extensive research into their right to be here. The temp agency was immediately fired and a new one hired...this one really promises to check the credentials of those remaining in the warehouse. Yesterday, four more were fired for being illegal. I wonder if anyone took the time to notify Immigration to pick them up. Probably not.

Coincidentally, on Fox news this morning, I watched a discussion about how thousands of illegal aliens gain entrance to the US every day. They are using bogus birth certificates, obtaining the SSN of children or deceased people, and with those documents obtaining driver's licenses. These are all documents you need to be hired. Shouldn't someone be checking to see if these SSN are valid? It seems it would create a position and be a lot cheaper than the expense incurred to haul these people back across the border just so they can pay a coyote and come right back. We've lost track of the checks and balances system. Wonder if the drivers will get an apology for having their credibility questioned? I doubt it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday, "It's a Fact."

What's wrong with this picture? President Obama sent millions of dollars to the Palestinians, for damage we didn't cause, yet granted only a $25.00 increase in unemployment to those in this country struggling to survive until they can find a new job--if there is a job to be had. Oh, I know the Omnibus bill will create some jobs, but putting a World Trade Center in Montana doesn't much help the jobless here in Tennessee.

Twenty-five dollars. Consider that my sister has been receiving the maximum of $240 every two weeks. She's living here with us, managing to pay her own way, but she's single and responsible for only herself. Now imagine a family of four trying to live on that...especially if the wage earner previously held a job that paid a substantial salary.

Sadly, even the meager sum ends with no further hope of assistance. My sis has faithfully applied for hundreds of positions, availed herself to the few interviews scheduled, and still has had no luck in finding a job. In two weeks, her benefits will be exhausted, leaving her with no avenue of assistance. Since she has no children living at home, she's not eligible for welfare, but even if she was, she wouldn't be considered because she hasn't been in this state long enough. It's impossible to declare residency anyhow, unless you can provide two utility statements in your name, a TN driver's license, and a rental agreement or mortgage contract.

Assuming from publicized statistics that she is just one in millions in this predicament and, with unemployment growing day by day, there are going to be even more left helpless and hopeless. What say President Obama consider taking care of the tax-paying Americans before he sees to the needs of foreigners??? I say tax-paying because even unemployment wages are taxed. With any luck, my sis'll get to take advantage of the whopping $25.00 increase granted in February retroactively. After taxes, she might just get another $100.00. Wow!

Hey, Obama promised change...we just forgot to ask what kind. I'm thinking it's the silver kind that tinkle (nickels, quarters, dimes.) It's bad enough that he's spending money that has yet to be earned, does he have to use such poor judgement. Is it just me or does anyone else think he's become drunk with power?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday's Tourist


One of my favorite authors and friend, Anita Davison, is very busy getting her latest manuscript in order for her NEW agent and can't make a personal appearance today, so I've decided to hi-jack the topic she used on her blog yesterday, and as long as I give her credit, I doubt she'll mind. Or I hope she won't. *smile*

I'm secretly very jealous of Anita'a recent contract with an agent, but happy she's managed to achieve what some of us haven't. If you haven't read an Anita Davison novel, you are definitely missing out. Check out the reviews I've done here on Dishin' It Out for her Duking Days series. I would have been put off by the title because I'm not into that sub-genre of historical novels, but once I read an opening paragraph, I was hooked.

I'm quoting this directly from Anita's blog :

Editing is worse!

An acquisitions editor *may* give your chapter a two-page reading before consigning it to the slush pile. Many are tossed after one paragraph. Writers Digest 2008

Agents and acquisitions editors read so many opening chapters, their brains immediately focus on the basic mistakes we all make when we begin to write. They will not:
· Look beyond it and consider the work as a whole
· Assume any technical errors can be corrected during a later edit
· Take into account the writer’s novice status and ignore the grammatical errors and typos

No, no and no, – they will toss the manuscript.

This ends the high-jacked portion of the blog. :)

My biggest dilemma: How do you write a first chapter that reaches out and grabs someone's attention? When you consider how many hopeful authors are flooding literary agents with submissions, the numbers are staggering. I can only assume that everyone has followed all the recommendations and requirements before submitting...you know: right margin allowances, header or footers, NO headers or footers, the correct font, paragraph indention or NOT, page numbers, the list goes on and on. If everyone has followed guidelines, then how many of them were as wrong as I've been in making the assumption I was ready for representation?

How disappointing is a form letter after you've gone to all the trouble? It angers me, but then I've already blogged about that too many times. I realize the workload for agents is staggering, but just one helpful hint would be nice. Not, "you suck," but maybe, "work on your tenses, or needs more emotion shown than told." Of course there is always a chance they plain don't like your writing style, in which case, I'd like to know that so I don't keep adding to their workload needlessly.

There are no hard and fast answers to all the questions we authors have. We just have to keep trying, trying and trying, to get noticed, and aside from finding a way to have my first page ignite when it's pulled from the envelope, I evidently don't know how to grab an agent's attention. My last hope is Nathan Bransford, but I'll have to submit under an alias because he'll most likely remember my negative post about agents. *lol* He seems like someone who genuinely cares for what authors go through and I love his sense of humor. And No, I'm not kissing up. He doesn't even read my blog. But...tell me this. If I sent him this first page...do you think it would grab his attention and make him want to keep reading:

Chapter One

“Okay, Lang, strip!”

The guard’s bark made Carrie’s stomach turn. She cowered in the corner of the women’s processing area, unable to move. Her legs wobbled and her lips quivered under the blast of cold air from the ceiling vent.

“I said strip! Don’t make me have to tell you again.” The pudgy, uniformed female slapped a baton against her palm in a constant rhythm. In the empty room, the sound bounced off the depressing gray cement walls and echoed in Carrie’s head. She forced herself to take a faltering step out of her shoes. Her fingers fumbled with the buttons as she struggled to remove her pink cotton blouse. She unfastened her jeans and let them drop to the floor, then gazed helplessly at the woman, praying that was all she had to remove.

The guard’s deeply-furrowed skin and graying hair put her at well past fifty. She walked closer, stopping when her face was only inches from Carrie’s. Her breath reeked of cigarette smoke. Carrie wrinkled her nose and turned her head. How could someone she’d never met hate her so much already? Was there even an ounce of compassion buried beneath that deep sneer?

The older woman pressed the edge of her baton against Carrie’s jawbone and forced her face forward. Her stomach clenched. With an evil gleam, the guard delved the wooden stick under Carrie’s bra strap, slowly guiding the silky string off her shoulder and down her arm. Gooseflesh peppered her skin and she shivered.
“Stripping means everything, inmate Lang. Everything! Get it off. Panties, too, sweetheart. I’m a busy person so quit wasting my time.” The matron strode to the other side of the room, leaned against the wall and ogled Carrie while she finished undressing.

Lowering her head, she dropped her bra atop the pile on the floor then kicked her panties off next to it. Feeling the cold invade every pore, she wrapped her arms around her upper body. Tears blurred her eyes and threatened to spill down her cheeks, but she squeezed her lids together and tilted her head skyward. Oh Lord, what did I do to deserve this? Please, help me. You’re my last hope.

“Praying are you?” the gravely voice taunted. “It’s a little late for that. Put those hands down to your sides and look to the front, missy.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This Just In


I tried to avoid blogging about politics...honestly I did, but I can't help but wonder if anyone besides me thinks that something in Washington smells.

Today, President Obama is signing the Omnibus bill despite that fact that media coverage and national tea parties have bemoaned the fact that this is nothing more than a pork-filled special interest spending package. During Obama's campaign, he routinely talked about avoiding wasteful spending, yet today, under the guise of saving Congress from the undue burden and blaming the Bush administration for placing these earmarks in the bill, he'll sign it into law...but in private. Knowing his fondness for spotlighting, that smacks of shame on his part.

As if that's not enough, he followed up the news of his signature with a proclamation that he'll initiate reforms on earmarking. HUH??? Wouldn't this have been a nice place to start. Who cares who put the special interest projects in the bill? He's the president and has the prerogative to veto them. I can only speak for myself, but had he done that, it would have gone a long way to restoring my faith in his abilities. I guess pig smells, grape research, kayaking in Hawaii, and putting a World Trade Center in Montana will rest on all our shoulders. Quite frankly, I thought the cartoon I posted here fits the bill. Literally.

I think our new president my have ADHD. He can't seem to focus on one thing for very long before he moves on to something else. Just my humble opinion...and it is my blog. *lol*

Wednesdays Wit - I Need Professional Help


Okay, I admit. I've gone from politics to watching reality shows, and I'm thinking those of us addicted need a support group.


I started with logical choices like Survivor, The Amazing Race, The Biggest Loser, and Dancing with the Stars, but now I've migrated to the darker side. I can't believe I'm TVOing Bret Michael's Rock of Love, I Love Money, The Tool Academy, and sadly...this should prove I'm an idiot...Rupaul's Drag Race.

America, you do NOT have to be intelligent to be on TV. These shows prove it, and I think I'm glued to the screen because I can't quite believe how idiotic people get selected for these shows. For example: Most of the cast on I Love Money already have silly screen names from being on other shows...yes, I watched them, too. Ones like I Love New York (That's a person) and Flavor of Love, a continuing saga of beautiful women trying to win the affection of a really ugly, black man who wears ridiculous clothes and a big clock around his neck. They have names like Becky Buckwild, Buddha, Tailor Made, Six Pack, Heat, and Prancer...you get my drift. Yesterday, Heat was eliminated, and after he cried for ten minutes he said he felt 'betrayted.'

I'm amazed at how indignant they become when someone actually tries to play the game instead of maintaining an 'alliance' OR in the case of Bret Michael's, a forty-year-old rocker has been who wears more eye make-up than his female troop... how the women join a caravan of others trying to win Bret's affection and get pissed when he plays tonsil hockey with someone else. I can just imagine how proud the children of these women are to see their mom's dressed like hookers, dancing drunk on bars, and proudly showing their 'chesty' investments. This is the third season, so I guess his previous choices haven't panned out. Gee what surprise! Have these women no pride? Don't I?

The Tool Academy boasts obnoxious males enrolled by their girlfriends in an attempt to turn them from 'tools' to gentlemen. The graduate must pair with his woman to achieve victory in challenges, attend sessions with a therapist, and earn all merit badges to win a hefty chunk of change. The season just ended this week, and while the groom commented on his 'free' televised wedding ceremony, he seemed really lacking in one area when he mentioned the harp player. I believe his exact words were, "Some guy playing with a harpoon."

Then there's Rupaul. He/She is an ugly man but a beautiful female impersonator. The show is a competition among his peers, and I'm confused when he calls them dolls, girls, and ladies. They constantly call each other 'bitch' and what bothers me most, is I couldn't look that good if I spent a week in front of the mirror. A panel of judges are most serious when they consider who meets the weekly challenge set before the contestants by Rupaul. In the end, the lowest ranking two have to 'lip-sync for their life'. One will receive Rupaul's mandate, "Shantay, you stay," or "Sashay, away." I've picked my favorite for next week's finale...I know who should sashay away. *lol*

Why do people with limited mobility apply for shows that have 'race' in the title? And if you've ever watched a season of survivor, you sort of know what to expect..or you should. How weak to make the cut and then quit. And the final announcement at the end of the weekly weight loss challenge..."I'm sorry, you aren't the biggest loser." Yes you are! You didn't win. Is it any wonder I need serious counseling? Between commercials and the actual programs, my brain is fried.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Faces of Hope

I met a wonderful, amazing woman whose son is in my grandson's class. Her name is Leslie Face and I'd like to tell you why I admire her so. Leslie has not one, but two autistic children. Matthew is the oldest and Joshua the youngest. You'd think she had her hands full, but somehow, while a single mom dealing with more than most mother's do, Leslie managed to start a non-profit organization, helping children in the area who suffer from debilitating conditions. She's organizing a grand opening and I recently had the good fortune to tour the blossoming facility. I just kept looking at her and wondering how someone could accomplish such a major miracle for families here in Gallatin, TN and the surrounding areas.

The unemployment rate in Tennessee was high before the economic crisis, and dental and medical insurance are not often provided by employers. The state will assist in making a preliminary diagnosis, but as with Spencer, my grandson, they give you a the test results then send you off to learn to deal on your own. It's a nightmare. Imagine trying to determine a child's needs when he can't tell you what there are. Autism usually locks away a child's social capabilities, and most don't communicate at all. They flap their arms and often engage in repetitive noises or behaviors called stimming. I recall when I was in grammar school, the children in these so-called 'special' classes weren't treated very nicely. I'm sad to say, adults aren't always very polite either.

Facing Spencer's challenges were minor compared to what I've witnessed in other children. He's considered 'high-fuctioning, and yet is in classes with children who are not. This is a serious problem for children that fall under the 'autism umbrella.' They are all lumped together and, in Spencer's case, the children that he mimics are those with more severe disabilities. Mainstreaming requires time and patience, something that seems sorely lacking in our school district.

Since I've met Leslie, I don't feel so alone in dealing with my special grandson. I have a resource, and someone who has probably faced just about everything that comes with having autistic children. I asked her point blank if she considered she might have another child with autism when she got pregnant a second time. Just a few years ago, no one suggested that history would repeat itself in that way. Joshua was born with a hole in his heart, too, so his doctor assured Leslie it was highly unlikely he would be autistic. He is. If someone has an autistic son and has another child, the changes are extremely high you'll have another. Leslie looked at me and smiled and said, "Even if I knew Joshua would be autistic, I would still have had him." That's love. Amazing, amazing love.

Just so you can know Leslie a little better, I want to share one of her blogs with you. I'm sure she won't mind:

Nothing else in this house that POOPS as long as I am the only one here that cleans it up!" That's the rule. NO MORE POOP. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?

Let me explain.... I love animals. From the time I was 12 until the time I was 18 I worked at an animal hospital. I grew up with fish and cats, friends and family that had dogs and birds... I love animals. Always have. When Matthew was born we owned two cats, Sam and Snickers, and two or three unnamed fish... My parents had two dogs, Abbey and Maggie. The little guy was surrounded by animals. He loved them. They loved him. So far so good.

Very early on in my journey as Matthew's mom, I knew that if I wanted Matthew to say anything it would have to be about an animal. He has this amazing ability to look at a picture of an animal and tell anyone what kind of animal it is. From the day he began to discover his voice he has been able to share curious bits of information about wildlife. As a matter of fact, "hibernaculum" was one of his very first words. (Ok, "bubbles" was first.) Animals seem to comfort Matthew. They don't seem to notice or even care that he has autism. They communicate just fine without the words that so often elude and frustrate Matthew.

Fast forward now.... If we were to take a roll call here in the Face house, it would include 3 birds (that's a long story), 2 cats, 3 fish, a dog, 2 precious little boys, and me. Well, that would have been the roll call a few weeks ago.... Shortly after we got the first bird I instituted the "NO POOP" rule... Since the adoption of Pickles and Amigo (birds 2 and 3) we were doing pretty well with the rule.....

Matthew had a really bad day at school. For those of you that don't know me or even understand what constitutes a "really bad day" let me suffice it to say that Matthew didn't even make it out of the car into the school for 2 weeks after that..... We had to make a trip to Vanderbilt to see his developmental pediatrician about his anxiety. I had promised Matthew a trip to the pet store if we could survive our appointment. Once at the pet store, the manager-- who knows us well-- came up to us to show us some little girl gerbils-- sisters, she said. Sisters that had been abandoned and that really needed a home. I shared the NO POOP rule with her and, after our brief visit, we left the pet store-- WITHOUT THE GERBILS, I might add. Matthew was hysterical.

The events that followed don't really matter. I had to turn the car around after the doctor called to see if Matthew had calmed down. "He needs a diversion," she said. We now own two little girl gerbils. Matthew named them Peanut and Sweetie. He's doing much better now though school is still a struggle for us in the morning and his anxiety is still often off the charts. A few nights after we welcomed these sweet little orphaned rodents into our home I found myself in tears-- asking God to forgive my stupidity and to rescue me from the poop that I had invited into my house. Then, in a way that only God can, He sent me a little "postcard."

I walked into Matthew's little playroom and saw him sitting next to the gerbils. He was talking to them in clear, perfect sentences. "It's ok, Peanut. It's ok, Sweetie. Don't be scared. Everything is going to be ok. It's ok." In that moment I was reminded that when Matthew is talking with and taking care of the animals-- he isn't at a disadvantage-- not at all. Quite the contrary. Matthew gives and receives compassion and understanding that I believe most of us miss because we talk too much..... Matthew was reminding me that though we have hit a bump (ok, a small hill) in the road, "everything is going to be ok."

So... Mother of the year I am not. Smarter than your average bear? Nope. Abider of rules-- even good ones? Not usually. Nope. If I were the pilot of this plane, I would tell you we have 13 souls on board. And, yes, I am the only one that cleans up the poop...... And you know what? I am thankful that God has chosen to bless my life with Matthew, Joshua and their friends Ellie, Sam, Snickers, Pretty Bird, Pickles, Amigo, Mr. Fish, Mr. Fish's Brother Mr. Fish, Peanut, and Sweetie.


So, you probably see why I'm in awe of my new friend. She's positive, upbeat, and even finds poop a blessing. How many people do you know who can do that?

If you want to find out more about Faces of Hope, please visit their website Now comes the hard part...finding people who want to donate to support this wonderful endeavor. One in 100 children are born with some form of autism, and no one has a clue why. Leslie may not be part of the research to discover the answer, but she's certainly part of the solution to help desperate parents find the resources and answers they need. Angels walk among us. Yep, they do.

Tuesday Trivia

Today we're gonna check out your Fairy Tale memories. Get ready:

1. Goldilocks ate up the mother bear's porridge. True or False?

2. In what year was "Sleeping Beauty" first published?

3. In the original fairy tale, the prince renames Thumbelina to what name?

4. What did Hansel and Gretel leave as a trail, in order to find their way home the second time?

5. What is the literal meaning of the name, Rumplestiltskin?
a. Wrinkled little man
b. Crazy little man
c. Little rattle stilt
d. Little name stealer

6. What color was the apple that the evil stepmother gave Snow White to eat?
a. white and red
b. red and yellow
c. green
d. red

7. Who published the original "Rapunzel" fairy tale?
a. The Grimm Brothers
b. Aarne Thompson
c. Aesop
d. Andrew Lang

8. In the tale of "Three Billy Goats Gruff," what lives under the bridge the goats must cross?
a. A goblin
b. A troll
c. A witch
d. A dragon

9. What were the names of the Three Little Pigs?
a. Oscar, Hamlet, Ribsy
b. Larry, Peter, Paul
c. Not mentioned
d. Twinkle, Winkle, Wrinkle

10. Who published "The Little Mermaid"?
a. Charles Perrault
b. Hans Christian Anderson
c. Charles Dickens
d. Jeanette Hassenpflug

11. "Beauty and the Beast" hails from what country?
a. Germany
b. England
c. Sweden
d. France

12. "Jack and the Beanstalk" is a well-known tale of a young man who deals with a giant at the end of a beanstalk. The giant usually said the following when a human was nearby: "Fee Fie Fo Fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman..." Complete the saying:
a. Be he live or be he dead, I grind his bones for my bread.
b. He might be alive, or he might be dead, The less we speak of him, the better said.
c. If he's alive of if he's dead, he better not steal my gold or bread.
d. Is he alive? Is he dead? The answer is something I do dread.

13. How did the frog turn into a prince in the original telling of the Grimm Brothers' "Frog Prince"?
a. A wish of the princess changed him
b. She kisses him
c. The princess throws him against the wall in disgust
d. Her father the king commanded the change

14. In the Norwegian fairy tale, "The Princess on the Glass Hill" (Or Glass Mountain), what three objects does she hold?
a. Golden applies
b. A ruby, a diamond, an emerald
c. A sword, a crown, a staff
d. Silver pears

15. Pinocchio, from the Italian fairy tale by Carlo Collodi, does not appreciate the advice given by the talking cricket. What does he do to get the cricket to stop?
a. Traps him in a jar
b. buries him in the garden
c. throws a hammer at him
d. feeds him to a crow

Okay...no peeking, and EMAIL your answers to Miz Ging Thanks to Fun Trivia dot com for their creative genius and fun site. Next Tuesday, we're doing an actual authors Trivia search to find out about some of my friends. I'll give you clues and you have to come up with the answers. :)

The winner of today's challenge will receive a free download of my new release, Sparta Rose straight from Fictionwise.

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