Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Month: October 2017 (Page 1 of 3)

Happy Halloween!

Just a short post this morning. I’ve got a post up at Mad Genius Club this morning. Please go have a look. I talk about some of the “tricks” and “treats” we see today in the world of publishing and more. I’d also like to remind everyone that I have the following three titles for sale through today.

Witchfire Burning (Now on sale for $2.99)

Long before the Others made their existence known to the world, Mossy Creek was their haven. Being from the wrong side of the tracks meant you weren’t what the rest of the world considered “normal”.

Normal was all Quinn O’Donnell wanted from life. Growing up on the “wrong side of the tracks”, she had been the only normal in the family. The moment she was old enough, she left and began life as far from her Texas hometown as possible. Now she has a job she enjoys and a daughter she loves more than life itself. Their life is normal, REALLY normal, until her daughter starts calling forth fire and wind.

Quinn knows they must go back so her mother can help five-year-old Ali learn how to control her new talents. But in Mossy Creek nothing is ever simple. Quinn’s mother has gone missing. Secrets from Quinn’s past start coming back to haunt her.

And the family home is more than a little sentient.

Can Quinn keep everyone — particularly Ali — safe? And will she ever get back her illusion of normalcy?

Skeletons in the Closet (Now on sale for $0.99)

Lexie Smithson’s family had never been what most folks would call “normal”. They had more than their fair share of oddballs and loners and even crazy cat ladies. Most families in Mossy Creek did, especially if they lived on the “wrong side of the tracks”. But things took a decidedly sharp turn to the left of weird the day Lexie’s sister came home from school, complaining about how Old Serena Duchamp had given her the evil eye. When her mother decided it would be a good thing to confront the town’s resident witch, Lexie knew life would never be the same. How could it when their loved ones began returning to the old homestead the day after their funerals. Lexie knew she should be happy none of her neighbors reported mutilated cattle or corpses with missing brains. But that can be hard to do when your loved ones have passed but not passed on.

Skeletons in the Closet is a novella set in the Eerie Side of the Tracks universe. It is the first of a series featuring Lexie, her family – both living and dead, not to mention furry – and their friends.

Nocturnal Haunts (Now on sale for $0.99)

Lt. Mackenzie Santos has seen just about everything in more than ten years as a cop. The last few months have certainly shown her more than she’d ever expected. She’s learned that real monsters don’t always hide under the bed or in the closet. They walk the streets and can exist in the best of families.

When she’s called out to a crime scene and has to face the possibility that there are even more monsters walking the Earth than she knew, she finds herself longing for the days before she started turning furry with the full moon.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m going to do some reading today. When I’m not, there are movies to watch and writing to be done. So, what are you doing this Halloween?

Halloween Reading Special Redux

Finally! The three titles I put up for sale are finally ON SALE. The price drop is good only through tomorrow. Two, Skeletons in the Closet and Nocturnal Haunts, are short reads. The third, Witchfire Burning, is a full-length novel. So, welcome to the Halloween Reading Special Redux.

Witchfire Burning (Now on sale for $2.99)

Long before the Others made their existence known to the world, Mossy Creek was their haven. Being from the wrong side of the tracks meant you weren’t what the rest of the world considered “normal”.

Normal was all Quinn O’Donnell wanted from life. Growing up on the “wrong side of the tracks”, she had been the only normal in the family. The moment she was old enough, she left and began life as far from her Texas hometown as possible. Now she has a job she enjoys and a daughter she loves more than life itself. Their life is normal, REALLY normal, until her daughter starts calling forth fire and wind.

Quinn knows they must go back so her mother can help five-year-old Ali learn how to control her new talents. But in Mossy Creek nothing is ever simple. Quinn’s mother has gone missing. Secrets from Quinn’s past start coming back to haunt her.

And the family home is more than a little sentient.

Can Quinn keep everyone — particularly Ali — safe? And will she ever get back her illusion of normalcy?

Skeletons in the Closet (Now on sale for $0.99)

Lexie Smithson’s family had never been what most folks would call “normal”. They had more than their fair share of oddballs and loners and even crazy cat ladies. Most families in Mossy Creek did, especially if they lived on the “wrong side of the tracks”. But things took a decidedly sharp turn to the left of weird the day Lexie’s sister came home from school, complaining about how Old Serena Duchamp had given her the evil eye. When her mother decided it would be a good thing to confront the town’s resident witch, Lexie knew life would never be the same. How could it when their loved ones began returning to the old homestead the day after their funerals. Lexie knew she should be happy none of her neighbors reported mutilated cattle or corpses with missing brains. But that can be hard to do when your loved ones have passed but not passed on.

Skeletons in the Closet is a novella set in the Eerie Side of the Tracks universe. It is the first of a series featuring Lexie, her family – both living and dead, not to mention furry – and their friends.

Nocturnal Haunts (Now on sale for $0.99)

Lt. Mackenzie Santos has seen just about everything in more than ten years as a cop. The last few months have certainly shown her more than she’d ever expected. She’s learned that real monsters don’t always hide under the bed or in the closet. They walk the streets and can exist in the best of families.

When she’s called out to a crime scene and has to face the possibility that there are even more monsters walking the Earth than she knew, she finds herself longing for the days before she started turning furry with the full moon.

*  *  *

I always loved Halloween as a kid and I still do. Tomorrow it looks like the fun will be spoiled by rain. So I’m going to curl up with some good books and scary movies and enjoy myself. Here’s hoping you have a great Halloween.

Halloween Reading Special

Just a quick post today. I am running a Halloween Reading Special through the 31st. Two of the titles, Skeletons in the Closet and Nocturnal Haunts, have already seen their prices dropped. Witchfire Burning should already be discounted but, for some reason, the price hasn’t yet been adjusted. I’ll try to keep an eye on it an update the post when the new price goes live. (You can click the links above or the pictures below to go to the title’s Amazon page.)

*   *  *

Lt. Mackenzie Santos has seen just about everything in more than ten years as a cop. The last few months have certainly shown her more than she’d ever expected. She’s learned that real monsters don’t always hide under the bed or in the closet. They walk the streets and can exist in the best of families.

When she’s called out to a crime scene and has to face the possibility that there are even more monsters walking the Earth than she knew, she finds herself longing for the days before she started turning furry with the full moon.

Currently on sale for $0.99

*   *  *

Lexie Smithson’s family had never been what most folks would call “normal”. They had more than their fair share of oddballs and loners and even crazy cat ladies. Most families in Mossy Creek did, especially if they lived on the “wrong side of the tracks”. But things took a decidedly sharp turn to the left of weird the day Lexie’s sister came home from school, complaining about how Old Serena Duchamp had given her the evil eye. When her mother decided it would be a good thing to confront the town’s resident witch, Lexie knew life would never be the same. How could it when their loved ones began returning to the old homestead the day after their funerals. Lexie knew she should be happy none of her neighbors reported mutilated cattle or corpses with missing brains. But that can be hard to do when your loved ones have passed but not passed on.

Skeletons in the Closet is a novella set in the Eerie Side of the Tracks universe. It is the first of a series featuring Lexie, her family – both living and dead, not to mention furry – and their friends.

Currently on sale for $0.99

*  *  *

Long before the Others made their existence known to the world, Mossy Creek was their haven. Being from the wrong side of the tracks meant you weren’t what the rest of the world considered “normal”.

Normal was all Quinn O’Donnell wanted from life. Growing up on the “wrong side of the tracks”, she had been the only normal in the family. The moment she was old enough, she left and began life as far from her Texas hometown as possible. Now she has a job she enjoys and a daughter she loves more than life itself. Their life is normal, REALLY normal, until her daughter starts calling forth fire and wind.

Quinn knows they must go back so her mother can help five-year-old Ali learn how to control her new talents. But in Mossy Creek nothing is ever simple. Quinn’s mother has gone missing. Secrets from Quinn’s past start coming back to haunt her.

And the family home is more than a little sentient.

Can Quinn keep everyone — particularly Ali — safe? And will she ever get back her illusion of normalcy?

Friday Reading Recommendations

It’s the end of the week and that means hopefully more time to read. Today’s recommendations come from the traditional publishing side of the street. One of the books I read years ago, when it first came out. I rediscovered it at the library the other day and reread it. Another is a cross-over between one of my favorite UF authors and another author I enjoy. The final is the first book in a second series by that same favorite UF author. Next week, I’ll return to reading recommendations from the indie side of the street. Oh, one last thing. Two of the three recommendations should be available through your library as dead tree books. All of them should be available as e-books (that way, if you are like me and don’t buy many trad published books any longer, you can still enjoy them).

First up is Mallory’s Oracle by Carol O’Connell. At first glance, it is easy to dismiss this book, and the rest of the series, as nothing more than police procedurals. In a very real way, they are. But they are also so much more. There is a hint of the paranormal — and sometimes more than a hint — in most of the books. No, no shifters or vampires. These most definitely are NOT paranormal romances. But there is a feel of supernatural about them. Another way they are different is the main character. Kathy Mallory is not normal. She isn’t your empathetic cop. In fact, she could possibly be described as sociopathic. But she has a code she adheres to, one where justice will be done.

Here’s the blurb:

At its center is Kathleen Mallory, an extraordinary wild child turned New York City policewoman. Adopted off the streets as a little girl by a police inspector and his wife, she is still not altogether civilized now that she is a sergeant in the Special Crimes section. With her ferocious intelligence and green gunslinger eyes, Mallory (never Kathleen, never Kathy) operates by her own inner compass of right and wrong, a sense of justice that drives her in unpredictable ways. She is a thing apart.

And today, she is a thing possessed. Although more at home in the company of computers than in the company of men, Mallory is propelled onto the street when the body of her adoptive father, Louis Markowitz, is found stabbed in a tenement next to the body of a wealthy Gramercy Park woman. The murders are clearly linked to two other Gramercy Park homicides Markowitz had been investigating, and now his cases become Mallory’s, his death her cause. Prowling the streets, sifting through his clues, drawing on his circle of friends and colleagues, she plunges into a netherworld of light and shadow, where people are not what they seem and truth shifts without warning. And a murderer waits who is every bit as wild and unpredictable as she….

Filled with deep, seductive atmosphere and razor-sharp prose, Mallory’s Oracle is gripping, resonant suspense of tantalizing complexity—a genuinely unforgettable novel.

Next up is Blood of the Earth, the first book in the Soulwood series by Faith Hunter.   I’ll admit up front that I almost didn’t read this book. Much as I love the Jane Yellowrock series, I wasn’t all that interested in a series focusing on a character introduced in one of those books. Nell Ingram didn’t call to me for a lot of reasons, most of them personal. But I wanted something to read and I knew I could trust Hunter to spin a good tale. What I didn’t expect was to find Nell to be more interesting and spunkier than I expected. Most of the supporting good guys were fun too (okay, I’ll admit I have an issue with Rick LeFleur but that’s another story).

Here’s the blurb:

When Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she was almost alone in the world, exiled by both choice and fear from the cult she was raised in, defending herself with the magic she drew from her deep connection to the forest that surrounds her.

Now, Jane has referred Nell to PsyLED, a Homeland Security agency policing paranormals, and agent Rick LaFleur has shown up at Nell’s doorstep. His appearance forces her out of her isolated life into an investigation that leads to the vampire Blood Master of Nashville.

Nell has a team—and a mission. But to find the Master’s kidnapped vassal, Nell and the PsyLED team will be forced to go deep into the heart of the very cult Nell fears, infiltrating the cult and a humans-only terrorist group before time runs out…

Finally, we have Easy Pickings, a cross-over story by Faith Hunter and C. E. Murphy. As I said earlier, Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock is my go-to series if I want UF. I enjoyed Murphy’s Joanne Walker series but felt she got a little heavy-handed with a couple of messages in the last few books in the series. Still, they were enjoyable reads and I still recommend them to UF fans. I had hesitated when this title first came out to get it because I couldn’t see how the authors could manage to successfully merge two very different worlds (Jane’s world has vamps and witches and shifters and who knows what else where Jo’s is missing vamps but has gods interfering in what happens). I gave in because I wanted something new to read.

Here’s the blurb:

A Jane Yellowrock / Walker Papers Crossover

Welcome to the crossover event fans have been waiting for: Joanne Walker and Jane Yellowrock meet in a world not quite like either of their own, where they must find and defeat the magic that brought them there–or they just might find themselves . . . EASY PICKINGS!

Since we are only a few days away from Halloween, stay tuned for an announcement. I will be putting several of my titles on sale later today. I’ll update the blog when the new prices are in place. this sale will last only through the end of the month.

Oops again

As you already know, blogging didn’t happen yesterday. My only excuse is that I was writing. When I get into a writing jag like I’ve been on the last few days, I tend to put off blogging, partly because I don’t think about it and partly because I don’t want to break the flow of words. So, where does that leave me with the WIP? It leaves me in a very good place. I have figured out what was slowing me down and throwing me out of the previous version. It has been saved and put into the folder where I leave work that isn’t “working” at the moment.

What that really means is that the book I was writing wasn’t the book I meant to be writing. That’s not to say it’s a bad book. With some tweaking it will be far from bad. No, it just wasn’t fitting what I needed for the next installment in the Eerie Side of the Tracks universe.

How do I know this new version is right? That’s simple. It is pouring out of my brain and through my fingers onto the keyboard. I haven’t had a story pour out like this in a very long time. I’d forgotten how awesome it is when that happens. I just wish the other demands on my life would take a step back until I finished. But that’s not going to happen and that’s okay. It’s that life that helps keep me grounded.

One of those real life requirements I’m going to be dealing with over the next few days is redesigning my website and blog. But that will wait until I’ve had more coffee and have written for a bit this morning.

Until later!

Oops!

I just realized I hadn’t been back with the promised afternoon blog. Sorry. The words have been flowing on Light Magic and the afternoon came and went without my notice. The good part of that is the words are coming so easy right now and the story is no longer fighting me. The bad part is it means I forget things like needing to go to the grocery and blogging.

So, my apologies. I’m going back to writing. I’ll be back in the morning with a blog. For now, the world is still spinning on its axis. Other than that, everything is subject to change.

Later!

On Bergdahl and writing and other things

This is going to be a quick post. I’ll be back this afternoon with a more substantial entry. However, I do have posts up at Victory Girls and Mad Genius Club this morning. At VG, I talk about the delay of Bowe Bergdahl’s sentencing and how he is still grasping at any straw he can find to avoid taking responsibility and paying the consequences for deserting his post. My MGC post is about the misconceptions a number of traditionally published authors still have about indie authors AND about readers. I’d appreciate it if you wander over and take a look at both posts.

As for the rest of it, yesterday was very productive. I have the opening chapters of Light Magic figured out, complete with plot changes and a change in the male lead. Finally, the book feels right. I will probably spend this morning and part of the afternoon finishing the note-taking, etc., before sitting down to actual start the rewrite. But, the daily output yesterday, not counting blogging, was close to 10k words. I’m not going to argue with it.

Now I’m off to get back to work. I’ll be back later today with another post. Until then, have a great day!

Writing Life

Oh how I wish the Hollywood image of a writer was real — no, not the writer in books like Misery. I’m talking about the image of Jessica Fletcher and Richard Castle, among others. You know, writers who have little trouble with characters who refuse to cooperate and where the money comes in hand over fist. Heck, I’d be happy with only one of the two happening. But that’s not the truth when it comes to having a writing life.

My latest adventures in this writing life of mine happened this weekend. I’ve been working, seriously working, on Light Magic for a couple of weeks. I know the story. I had a very, very rough draft. But this was the “real” writing. The character development and weaving in of sub-plots, etc.

And it was like pulling teeth. Oh, words were coming but there was something wrong with them. I couldn’t figure out what. I just knew it was there.

There are times when we, as writers, have to step back and think long and hard about what we are doing. It might be a current project, a project on the drawing board, or one in edits. But it is hard. We get so wrapped up in the writing life, in making sure we keep to our schedules, that we sometimes ignore the internal warning signals. I’ve been guilty of that and, each time, it’s risen up to bite me on the ass.

So, this weekend, I let my mind wander. Okay, I’ll admit it. Most of that was during a gathering I really didn’t want to be at. Giving myself permission to step back from writing Light Magic and just wander mentally helped. In fact, I figured out why I was fighting the project as much as I was.

I realized I had two separate problems to deal with. One was that I was trying to hook my main character up with the wrong person in the story. My subconscious had recognized something I hadn’t — or, more accurately, remembered something from previous titles in the series that I had forgotten. That’s the easy-ish part to solve. I even know who the love interest should be. I just have to figure out how introduce him into the story and get that part of the plot going.

Oh, wait, I’ve managed to do that as well. So far, so good. Right?

Yep.

But now comes the more difficult part. The main problem I had with the book was my main character. Somewhere along the line she had gone from the character I’d envisioned to one who let herself be swept along by events and other people. In other words, she was too passive.

Now, passive main characters have never been something I’ve suffered from. Yes, I have had one or two who, in retrospect, were probably too dumb to live. But I’ve never had one who hasn’t been a fighter in her (or his) own way. That bothered me and I spent most of the last 24 hours — including getting very little sleep because my brain kept returning to the issue — trying to figure out how to fix the issue.

The solution is there. I can see it. But it means I’m going to be head down, fingers on the keyboard even longer each day if I’m to keep to my schedule. It also means I’ll be releasing a short story in the Eerie Side of the Tracks universe to introduce the new male lead. Now, this story has been on the schedule but now it has been moved up.

Oh, and if that isn’t enough, I got hit with a short story set in the Nocturnal Lives universe that may — if I find time to write it — come out for New Years.

Yes, the writing life is anything but peaceful. There are times I wonder why I subject myself to the torture of Myrtle the Evil Muse. But I also wouldn’t give it up for anything.

Now, since I need to buy kibble for the animals, a bit of promo as well. Because I’m working on Light Magic, why not check out some of the titles in the universe?

Witchfire Burning (Eerie Side of the Tracks, Book 1)

Long before the Others made their existence known to the world, Mossy Creek was their haven. Being from the wrong side of the tracks meant you weren’t what the rest of the world considered “normal”.

Normal was all Quinn O’Donnell wanted from life. Growing up on the “wrong side of the tracks”, she had been the only normal in the family. The moment she was old enough, she left and began life as far from her Texas hometown as possible. Now she has a job she enjoys and a daughter she loves more than life itself. Their life is normal, REALLY normal, until her daughter starts calling forth fire and wind.

Quinn knows they must go back so her mother can help five-year-old Ali learn how to control her new talents. But in Mossy Creek nothing is ever simple. Quinn’s mother has gone missing. Secrets from Quinn’s past start coming back to haunt her.

And the family home is more than a little sentient.

Can Quinn keep everyone — particularly Ali — safe? And will she ever get back her illusion of normalcy?

Slay Bells Ring (takes place in the same “universe” but not a direct entry in the Eerie Side of the Tracks series)

Fifteen years ago, Juliana Grissom left Mossy Creek in her rear view mirror. She swore then she would never return for more than a day or two at a time. But even the best laid plans can go awry, something she knew all too well, especially when her family was involved.

Now she’s back and her family expects her to find some way to clear her mother of murder charges. Complicating her life even further is Sam Caldwell, the man she never got over. Now it seems everyone in town is determined to find a way to keep her there, whether she wants to stay or not.

Bodies are dropping. Gossip is flying and Juliana knows time is running out. After all, holidays can be murder in Mossy Creek.

Reading Recommendations

Long before I was a writer, I was a reader. I can’t remember a time when books haven’t been a part of my life.  Even now, when I don’t get to read as much as I’d like, I still find time each day to pick up my Kindle Oasis and read something. This week has been a good one. Two of my “must buy” authors have new books out. Another favorite had books on sale. Yep, my tbr stack just got larger.

Awakening is the second book in Margaret Ball’s Harmony series.

Orphaned and taunted as an Unlicensed child, Devra grew up determined to expiate her parents’ crime by being the perfect citizen – which means never, ever questioning or defying the rules of Harmony’s totalitarian government. When one of her students is threatened with “medical rehabilitation,” she finds that her personal values are incompatible with good citizenship. One instinctive act of defiance sends her on a downward spiral towards unemployment and homelessness. But at the very bottom, sometimes you meet someone who shows you a new way up….

Shattered Lies (Web of Lies, Book 3) by Kathleen Brooks. Ms. Brooks is one of my guilty pleasure authors. Her books are fun, quick reads and this one is no different.

The time has come to step out of the shadows . . .

Valeria McGregor was a better shot, a better fighter, and smarter than everyone she’d ever gone up against as an agent for the DEA. Then she’d uncovered illegal activity within her own organization and was fired as part of a cover-up. That was how she’d joined the secret group who reports only to the president. Valeria fully plans to find the men and women hell bent on ruling the world from the shadows, but she also has revenge on the mind.

Valeria left the secret team thinking she could go undercover and get to the bottom of how this shadow group was funded. Valeria discovered too late that when it comes to true evil, it’s best to face it with your team at your back. Alone and on the run, Valeria is being hunted by some of the most dangerous people on the planet. She has learned how the shadow group has been funded and what they have planned next, but she still has to find out where. If the shadow group pulls it off, then there may be no stopping them.

Desperate to escape, Valeria calls her team only to find they aren’t close enough to help her. Grant Macay, a trusted Air Force Pararescueman, is brought into the fold and sent to rescue Valeria. With her past at the DEA alive and threatening her survival, and the world’s most vicious drug lord hunting her, Valeria and Grant must make their way back to the team to prepare for the battle of their lives.

For those of you old enough to remember Mary Stewart, a number of her titles are now available as e-books. Better yet, some are available for $0.99 – $1.99. Check out her author page for a full list of her titles.

One of her books I bought was Touch Not the Cat. This book has sentimental value to me because it is a book my father bought me when I was in college. He bought it just before he suffered a serious heart attack. For weeks, we didn’t know if he would survive. So that book was loved and treasured because, for much too long, I didn’t know if it would be the last thing I ever got from him. Here’s the blurb:

Ashley Court: the tumbledown ancestral home of the Ashley family, all blessed with ‘the gift’ of being able to speak to each other without words. When Bryony Ashley’s father dies under mysterious circumstances, his final words a cryptic warning to her, Bryony returns from abroad to uncover Ashley Court’s secrets. What did her father’s message mean? What lies at the centre of the overgrown maze in the gardens? And who is trying to prevent Bryony from discovering the truth?

Tell Bryony. The cat, it’s in the cat on the pavement. The map. The letter. In the brook. Tell Bryony. My little Bryony to be careful. Danger.

Finally, a reminder about my own release this week.

Vengeance from Ashes (special edition with exclusive content) is now live on Amazon. You can order the digital version here or the print version here. This version has approximately 20k additional words included that were not part of the original version. It is only available on Amazon. It is also part of the Kindle Unlimited program there.

The second reminder has to do with the original version of Vengeance from Ashes. You can order it through the following outlets with more to come: KoboPlayster, Tolino (link not yet available) InkteraBarnes & Noble, and iTunes. This is the same edition that had been available on Amazon.

 

Learn from the past. Look to the future.

Last night, I watched an episode of the PBS series, “Finding Your Roots”. If you aren’t familiar with the show, it is one where celebrity family histories are explored by a genealogist. The current format is three stars per hour-long episode. That means not a great deal of detail is given and they usually only focus on a single ancestor. This is also the show, iirc, that got into trouble several years ago when it helped “erase” part of a liberal star’s background by omitting the fact his ancestors had owned slaves.

Anyway, one of the stars last night was Ted Danson and, while there was no washing away of history, we got to see a liberal Hollywood star come face-to-face with the fact the world was different 200 years ago. Then we got to watch the host of the show, Henry Louis Gates Jr., jumping through a number of mental hoops to make Danson feel better about his ancestor.

You see, the truth of the matter was our former Cheers star discovered he had an ancestor who played a role in helping win our independence from England. That was a good thing. Danson was all smiles. Then Gates presented a facsimile of a page from a book where Danson’s ancestor was described as a slave owner. Oh, how fast the color drained from his face. You could see him trying to come to terms with the horror of it.

I will give Danson credit. He didn’t immediately recoil in horror. It was close but he thought about it. He admitted times had been different then and the act of owning another human had not been against the law. You could see he was uncomfortable with it and, to be honest, I probably would have been too. Just as I would have been proud to know that same ancestor allowed the slave to work and keep his wages, letting the slave eventually buy his own freedom.

But it was watching Gates trying to reassure Danson that struck me. He bent over backwards pointing out how much better Danson’s ancestor was than the founding fathers — and he named more than one — who owned slaves and did not let them go. You could see the politicizing of the show happening then — not that it hadn’t before.

You see, that incident I referred to in the opening paragraph dealt with much the same sort of situation. In that case. Ben Affleck, he who is such an advocate of social justice (and alleged groper), upon learning one of his ancestors had been a slave owner asked that the information be withheld from the public. After all, it wouldn’t do his image as a champion of all things right and proper any good to know he had such a stain on his family tree.

Now the trouble came when Gates agreed to withhold the information. It eventually came back to bite him and he had to make a public apology.

But here’s the thing. If you shake any of our family trees hard enough, you are going to find things you aren’t proud of. Those things might be the proverbial horse thief or other crook. It might be discovering your ancestor fought not he wrong side of the battle for independence. It might even be learning your ancestors did something that is abhorrent by today’s standards but allowable back in their day.

It is what we take from that knowledge that matters. I have a feeling if I checked hard enough on my father’s side of the family, I’d find not only members of it who supported the Confederacy but who probably owned slaves. Do I like that knowledge? No. But I’m not going to hide from it, nor am I going to go around making abject apologies for something I had no control over and for something that was not against the law at the time.

Here’s the thing. Slavery is an evil institution. Always was and always will be. White American land owners weren’t the first to own slaves nor were they the last. It isn’t difficult to find places on this earth where it is still occurring. It is the current situation I will fight against, that I do condemn. Isn’t that better than focusing on inequities of the past and, while we do so, ignore what is going on in the world around us?

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