Nocturnal Lives

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

Category: Musings (Page 1 of 45)

It’s not a joke

I Have kept silent for the most part about the sudden spate of sexual harassment accusations coming out of Hollywood and Washington DC. Yes, I blogged about how no one should be surprised about Hollywood. The casting couch has been one of the most well-known secrets for decades. Politicians acting the same way is nothing new either. A study of the history of some of the presidents of the last half of the 20th Century should prove that. Eisenhower’s military driver was supposedly his mistress at one point (I say supposedly because I have not researched it or verified reports). Kennedy was, to be blunt, a womanizer. Then you have LBJ and if you, like me, are a Texan, you’ve heard all sorts of rumors about him. I could keep on, but I won’t.

Here’s something to think about. Things have changed. There was a time when the media not only turned a blind eye to such behavior by our politicians or other “notables”, now they only do so in a selective manner. We’ve seen that already with regard to Harvey Weinstein and, more importantly, with the allegations Corey Feldman has made of late. If someone like me, who takes little notice of what goes on out in the glitz of Hollyweird has heard the rumors, you know the media. When those rumors went beyond the casting couch to grown men  and women abusing minor children, where was the media? Where was it when Feldman and others started talking about this years ago?

Now the latest lynching — er reporting — party revolves around sexual harassment allegations being laid against politicians, some elected and some running for election. There are also those against men who haven’t held office is decades but now, suddenly, behavior supposedly occurring decades ago is being brought to light.

The latest allegation to be made public happened yesterday. Sen. Al Franken, former comic (at least he thinks he was), has been accused of inappropriate behavior a decade ago. Unlike most of the other allegations leveled against others, there is a photograph of him reaching toward a sleeping woman’s breast and mugging for the camera as he does so.

The reaction to this revelation hasn’t surprised me. He’s apologized and sworn that he will cooperate with an ethics investigation. Dowd has tried to spin Franken’s actions as not being harassment or abuse because he was “joking”, or some other equally stupid explanation. I have no doubt that sort of justification by a Republisan would have been met with derision. But Franken is one of the darlings of the party.

Here’s the thing. I don’t like the way this country, and especially the so-called journalists, have decided it is all right to not only conduct trial by media but to presume guilt until proven innocent. Worse is the tendency of all too many to assume one is guilty based not on the cicurmstances being alleged but on what their political party happens to be. It doesn’t work that way, folks. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to turn the same hard look on those you agree with politically that you do on those sitting across the aisle from you.

If you sit there and condemn President Trump for what some women say he did and if you also believe he should step down as President because of that, you should hold Franken to the same level of accountability. Conversely, if you are lighting the pitchforks to go after Franken, you sure as hell should be doing the same with every other man — and woman — who stands similarly accused.

But how about doing something novel? How about not deciding on a man’s or woman’s future based on allegations and innuendo? How about letting them face their accusers. Instead of having tear-filled press conferences with Gloria Allred sitting there feeding the accusers their lines, let them sit before an ethics commission or, duh, a court of law and be subject to cross-examination?

I do not automatically doubt a woman who claims she has been abused or harassed. Far from it, in fact. But I also don’t subscribe to the idea that we have to automatically believe them. I worked in law enforcement long enough to have seen situations where a man was accused of crimes by a woman, crimes he did not commit.

I am also tired of certain people who have been the most vocal in the cries for condemnation against many of those currently being accused of harassment or worse also being the ones who defended Bill Clinton and did their best to eviscerate his accusers. Yes, I’m looking straight at Hillary and those who did all they could to protect Clinton to the detriment of those who leveled accusations of sexual misconduct against him.

We are on a very slippery slope right now, one we need to take a hard look at before we go any further. Yes, these accusations need to see the light of day. Yes, the voters have the right to know about them. But the men and women being accused also have the right to defend themselves. They have the right to point out possible motivation for such accusations to be made. We, the public, can only reach an informed decision abut the validity of the accusations after we know both sides of the story.

Besides, if you want me to take your concerns about Moore or any other conservative politician seriously, you have to take mine about Franken and Biden and Clinton seriously. In other words, apply the same standards to both sides of the political spectrum. If you don’t, you are not helping the women’s movement. You are, in fact, harming it by making it nothing more than a political agenda tool.

But I’ll go one better. Every one of those men and women who have been harassed or assaulted need to file criminal charges where they can and civil cases. I have no use for anyone who takes advantage of someone else, especially if they have used their “position of power” to do so. However,  every person who has falsely alleged harassment or abuse, no matter what the reason, needs to face judgment and punishment as well. This issue is too important and too pervasive not to hold to this. We don’t want those who cry “Wolf!” make it where we don’t believe someone when they come forward with a valid accusation.

Most of all, we need the media to quit playing favorites and get back to reporting the news, not trying to make it or manipulate it.

On writing and Biden and more

It’s Wednesday, mid-way through the work week. Unless you’re a writer. If you are, you know the work week never ends. You never know when an idea will strike or when you’ll see an image that inspires you. Since it’s Wednesday, it also means I’m blogging at Victory Girls. Today’s post has to do with former VP Joe Biden, the gift that keeps on giving.

Let’s start with good ole “Uncle Joe”. You have to have been living under a rock this last week or so not to know he’s been on a media blitz tour promoting his new book. It’s no surprise that he’s asked time and again what he thinks about President Trump, Hillary’s book and whether or not he is going to run for president in the next election.

Yet, what is missing in each of these interviews are questions about his clearly inappropriate behavior toward women, behavior that was noted in the media in 2015. Oh, he gets to go on and one about gun control, including embarrassing himself by basically saying the hero in the Sutherland Springs tragedy shouldn’t have been able to own the AR-15 used to save lives by stopping the gunman. Not that either is surprising. It simply shows the double-standard of the media and the Dems, in particular.

On the writing front, things are progressing. I’ve a title for the short story/novella (proper classification will depend on final edits and word count) set in the Eerie Side of the Tracks universe. Now to figure out the cover. Once that’s done, the reveal will be made on the blog and FB. Hopefully, edits will continue of Light Magic today. Yesterday, I went back to firming up the plot on the next Sword of the Gods book. So, the projects are progressing.

To be honest, the only problem I’m having with writing right now is that there are too many stories fighting for my attention. Well, that and the fact the injured knee still isn’t amenable to sitting at the desk. So I am having to adapt to doing most of my work on a tablet.

Now I need to run. Well, to be honest, I need to fall face first into bed. I was up most of the night with a very sick kitty. She seems to be all right now but she’ll be heading to the vet later today. But, for now, I need rest or I am going to fall asleep right here. Until later!

Grab the popcorn

Novembers have always been interesting. There are the elections and all the related issues, some more “interesting” than others depending on the year. There is Thanksgiving. For writers, there’s NaNoWriMo. And that’s just to name a few. But now, on top of all that, there is the soap opera that is the NFL. More on that in a moment.

Let’s start with NaNo. I share my thoughts on it over at Mad Genius Club today. The short version is that NaNo can be a useful tool for writers. By setting a goal and having accountability, by telling the internal editor to stay silent for a month, a writer can get into the habit of writing. I know that sounds strange, but it is very easy to be pushed away form the writing habit by real life demands. NaNo can refocus the writing — if you let it.

This is where I grab the popcorn. Yesterday, I posted both here and at Victory Girls about the ongoing soap opera that is the NFL. Since then, things have only gotten worse — or better, depending on your point of view. Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner, wants $50 million as salary, more than $10 million above what he is currently making. He also wants a private jet for his personal use FOR LIFE. Add to that health insurance for his entire family FOR LIFE. I don’t know about you, but I’d love that sort of pay and benefits, especially if I ran a company that is in worse shape now than when I took it over.

Jerry Jones wants accountability. He says his demand is not personal toward Goodell but toward the office of the commissioner. He say the commissioner has too much power without enough checks and balances. From what I’ve seen over the last few years, I’d have to agree with him. And I don’t like Jones. For me to agree with him on anything takes a lot.

But Goodell and certain other owners don’t like it. Members of the committee responsible for negotiating the contract with Goodell have now served Jones with a cease and desist letter. Jones needs to shut up and play the good little owner or they might take action against him. They can fine him. They can suspend him. They can try to take his beloved Cowboys away from him.

Is there anyone who thinks this will end well for the league?

Yep, it is popcorn and beer time. If you need me, I’ll be over here, writing and waiting for the shoe to drop. If Goodell and company aren’t careful, they might find out that Jerry Jones isn’t just a nightmare but he is their worst nightmare. This is going to fun to watch, certainly more entertaining than the current season has been.

Are you kidding me?

Those of you who are regular readers know I usually start the morning with coffee — necessary to function — and checking the news. This morning, I turned on the local Fox affiliate. That isn’t the channel I usually watch for local news. I’ll be honest, one of the newsreaders drives me up the wall. But it was the only local news on at the time and I hadn’t seen anything but national news for a couple of days. Just as I was about to switch the TV off, the sportscast came on. The tease for it was enough to keep me watching. Oh. My. Ghu. If the sportscaster is right, we may be about to see the end of the NFL as we know it.

It is no surprise that the NFL is suffering a crisis right now. Viewership, especially of the Sunday and Monday night games is down, really down. That means advertising dollars are being impacted. Worse in a lot of ways, attendance at a number of games are down as well. As easy as it would be to say the trouble started with the National Anthem protests, it didn’t. The NFL’s long history of failing to deal with players who continually violate the drug policy, who have abused their spouses or women they were dating, and then of over-reacting when they finally realized the public had had enough started the decline. But the National Anthem protests by some players and the NFL’s failure to address it was the final straw for a number of fans.

Goodell can get up there and talk about how he wants to support his players and how this isn’t really a protest against the National Anthem but the average working person — the average fan — doesn’t buy it. After all, if they were to go out and do something that harmed their employer’s brand, they would be disciplined. Instead of seeing the NFL players facing any consequences for their actions, once again, they see a very different standard being applied.

And yet, Goodell and company continue to ignore the problem. Instead, they have worked with the various networks to make sure the players aren’t being shown being disrespectful of the Anthem. They are hoping for the “out of sight, out of mind” adage to become true. Except it isn’t going away and it won’t.

If that isn’t bad enough, it now seems that there are some NFL owners who are so out of touch with their fans, they think the way to deal with the controversy is to try to force Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, out of the league. The Fox sportscaster this morning discussed the news circulating recently that a group of owners want to use the “nuclear option” in every owner’s contract when they buy a team. This option basically says that if a certain percentage of owners decide another owner is acting in a manner detrimental to the league, they can vote to force him or her to sell the team.

What is Jerry Jones’ sin? He isn’t backing off of his derision for the protests. Nor is he backing off his demand that Goodell should actually work AND accomplish things to move the league forward. In other words, he is listening to his fans and knows his money comes from them and not from the few players who want to make a political tatement at the beginning of a game. He knows that the head of the league should have the good of the entire league in mind when he acts and not the feelings of a few of the players.

If these owners are foolish enough to actually try to force Jones to comply with their BS demands, I hope they are ready for the fallout. For one, Jones isn’t going to go down without a fight and he will leave bodies, at least metaphorically speaking, in his wake. But that isn’t what they should fear. They should be trembling in their boots at the thought of how their actions will look to the fans, the people who buy tickets to the games, who buy their merchandise, who watch the games on TV and then buy products from sponsors. This action could very well tell the NFL fabric apart, leaving the league in tatters.

How long until these owners realize who has the real power here and it isn’t them and it isn’t the players. Those with the real power are the fans and they have already fired the warning shot. If the NFL under Roger Goodell continues on its current course, it will go down in flames and there is no guarantee it will rise from the ashes like a phoenix.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying the college football season and looking forward for baseball to return.


Catching up, blogging and more

After taking a fall over the weekend — thank you, dog and mud — I’ve been hobbled and finding a comfortable position to write has been challenging. However, I have managed to get a little work and some blogging done. Better yet, last night I was finally able to get back to work on Light Magic. Maybe the enforced time away helped or maybe my subconscious had been working even when I wasn’t at the keyboard. Whatever the explanation, I’m happy because I managed to get a couple of thousand words done before the knee started hurting too badly to let me continue. In other words, I’m catching up.

catching up post

BN Kitchen //

Even though I missed posting here yesterday, I did manage to get my Mad Genius Club post up. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, go take a look. I discuss the latest “bestest, greatest plan” to come out of Barnes & Noble. The bookseller is once again trying to reinvent itself, this time with Barnes & Noble Kitchens. These new stores are halving the number of titles they will sell in order to have a full restaurant. You can now go in, eat and drink (yes, beer and wine will be sold). Better yet (and yes, my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek), you can take your wine into the store and shop as you drink.

I also have a post up this morning over at Victory Girls. I love being part of that blog. Not only do I respect my fellow bloggers a great deal (try being a conservative or libertarian woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind these days), but I love the fact they aren’t afraid to write about issues important to them.

The premise of my post at VG this morning is simple. It wasn’t the law that failed the people of Sutherland Springs but the implementation of it. We need to look past the flogging of their favorite political horse by the liberals to identify what the real issue is. Then we need to deal with it. More gun control wouldn’t have stopped what happened. We need to remember the victims and their loved ones. I included links in the post if anyone wants to know how to help them.

That’s about it for now. I’ll be back later — hopefully today but possibly tomorrow — with a review. Those of you who have been following me on MGC, know I’ve switched most of my writing related duties to my MacBook Air. A week or so ago, I came into possession of an iPad Pro and Apple pencil. I’ll be reviewing them from the point of view of a writer.

Because I know some of us could use a laugh this morning, here’s one of the funniest skits (imo) from the Carol Burnett Show. Okay, it’s not as funny as the siamese elephant skit but it ranks right up there with it. While you enjoy it, I’m off to find more coffee and then it’s back to work. I have a lot of catching up to do.

It’s Monday and the Knee-Jerk Reactions Run Wild

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Sutherland Springs. No one can deny what happened was a tragedy. A church and a community have been decimated by yesterday’s events. However, instead of rushing to judgment and politicizing the events, we need to step back, breathe and wait for the facts. Not that it will stop any of the usual suspects who couldn’t wait to take to Twitter to beat their favorite political horse.

The homepage for the Dallas Morning News and, from what I’m told, the front page of today’s paper, showed it didn’t hesitate to jump on the gun control bandwagon long before much information had been learned about the shooter. ABC News made sure to condemn President Trump for saying this isn’t the time to call for more gun control and comparing it to how quickly he called for immigration control after the tragedy in New York. I guess ABC can’t see that there was a direct tie between the immigration of the DRIVER in the NY attack and what happened. Besides, it won’t miss an opportunity to attack the President.

Right now, there is still little hard evidence known about the why of yesterday’s attack or how the shooter got his weapons. I’ve seen all sorts of condemnations for Texas for allowing him to get the AR. I’ve seen federal gun control laws attacked. But all were knee-jerk reactions, reactions that ignore the fact that the shooter would have done much more damage had one of the men living near the church not legally owned a gun, grabbed it and used it to drive the shooter away before more people could be killed or injured.

From what Governor Abbott said this morning — and he will know more than any of the so-called pundits and Hollywood stars who helped cover up the actions of Harvey Weinstein and who knows how many others for years — the shooter applied for and was denied a state concealed carry permit. So Texas law and procedures worked. Where someone or something fell down was when, after he was denied the CCL, he was allowed to purchase the AR. We are still waiting to find out what happened then. It is possible information the State learned doing a background check on him (and by using his prints) was different from what the store received when he purchased the AR.

But here’s the thing. We don’t know. So quit rushing to judgment and wait the hell for the facts to come in. Until then, you are doing no one any good.

Let us focus on what’s important right now — the family of those killed or injured, the town that lost so many and the church where approximately half of its congregation was either killed or injured. Ask what you can do to help them. Show the same grace in the face of what happened that they are.

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?


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.

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?

Migraines are hell

I didn’t blog yesterday because I was battling a migraine. This morning, when I woke, I felt the stirrings of it still but it was so much better, I’d hoped it meant that it was disappearing. Nope. Not the case thanks to my neighbor. At 0630, the sound of  a large vehicle coming up the street and parking out front greeted me as I rolled out of bed. Worried it might be a firetruck or ambulance, I hit the ground running and made it to the window. Nope, not an emergency vehicle. Instead, it was one of at least three large trucks, all idling and spewing diesel fumes into the air. All for next door.

One truck parked in front of the house next door. Another parked in front of my house, blocking a good portion of my driveway. But that meant it also blocked the neighbor across the street, making it neigh to impossible for him to back out without risking either hitting the trucks or being hit by anyone coming down the street because line of sight was not vastly compromised.

And, with it still dark outside, the rumbling of the idling engines and the stink of diesel continued.

Now, my neighbor has been trying to put in a pool for months. For freaking months. Suddenly, today, with high moisture count in the air and the earth soaked after last night’s rain, they are pouring concrete.

More than an hour after they arrived.

And he, supposedly, didn’t know. Might be true. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. But, damn it, why not? What sort of business doesn’t keep its customer apprised of what’s going on?

Any way, there will be no real blog today. The migraine is now back full force. I’m thinking evil thoughts about the trucks and trying to keep my mother from going back out to give the neighbor another piece of her mind. Not a good day.

So here’s the moral of the story. If you are having work done on your house and you have neighbors, keep on top of what’s going on. If you are going to have something large done that will block traffic, cause noise, be a nuisance, stay on top of it and let your neighbors know so they can make arrangements if necessary. In other words, be a neighbor.

Now I’m off to find more meds and go back to bed.

I fucking hate migraines.

And now, for something different

I’ve been on a quasi-political bent of late. Part of that is because my muse has been, well, my muse. She’s evil and she loves to torment me. Part of it is because there are times when you just have to speak your mind. Today, however, I want to do something I haven’t done in a bit. I want to talk about some of the books I’ve been reading.

Any of you who have been following this blog, or my posts over at Mad Genius Club, know I’ve been an avid reader forever. I have my parents to thank (or curse, when I look at my bank account) for that. Some of my earliest memories are of them reading to me. There were always books in the house and they made sure I had my own library card as soon as I was old enough.

They also encouraged me to read beyond what school said I should. While my classmates in elementary school were reading chapter books and the like, I was reading books that came from the monthly book club my dad subscribed to or non-fiction books my parents checked out of the library. I can remember reading a science encyclopedia the baby sitter had. That was really fun because it discussed not only scientific theory and discoveries but what might be possible in the future.

That love of reading has stayed with me throughout my life. So, when I see a writer (usually a wanna-be writer) say they don’t read, I cringe. How can you be a writer and not read? You have to read to do some of your research. You must read to find out what the current market is looking for. You need to read to learn story structure and character development — both how to do it and how not to do it.

Anyway, here are a few of the books I’ve read or am currently reading.

One of my guilty pleasures when it comes to reading are the Bluegrass books (there are now several series) by Kathleen Brooks. These are quick reads with fun characters who love their family, friends, dogs and guns. The latest, Forever Concealed, is the 7th book in the current series.If you enjoy romance and suspense mixed with a healthy dose of humor, give Ms. Brooks a try. Each book stands on its own but I recommend starting at the beginning of each series. Heck, who am I kidding. I recommend you begin with the first book in the original series and go from there.

For non-fiction, and because we will be seeing the play based on the book in the near future, I’m currently reading The Most Reluctant Convert: C. S. Lewis’ Journey to Faith. This isn’t my usual sort of thing for my non-fiction reading. I tend more toward history, politics or military non-fiction. But last year we went to see the Screwtape Letters on stage with friends and it was such an excellent performance that, when we learned the same group was doing this on stage, we decided to go. Because there is a discussion period after the performance, I thought reading the book might be helpful.

This next book was on my to buy list but after the price was reduced because I refuse to pay more than $10 for a fiction e-book. However, a friend gave it to me (yay!). Another of my guilty pleasures are the Eve Dallas books by J. D. Robb. I’ll admit, she’s had some misses with this series, but that’s to be expected when there are as many books in the series as there are now. This last book, Silence in Death, while far from a miss didn’t hit the mark as solidly in my opinion as Brotherhood in Death or even Apprentice in Death. Part of that is because the victim in this case wasn’t someone I cared about. Part was because the killer also wasn’t anyone I cared about. But the story was still pretty solid and the favorite characters were there. So, I enjoyed it but it isn’t on the “to be reread very soon” pile.

One of my favorite series right now is the Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter. A big reason for that is seeing how Jane has grown and changed over the course of the series. Of course, Jane’s snark doesn’t hurt either. Her latest, Cold Reign, brings us closer to the big and potentially final battle the books have been leading up to. But, this being Jane, she’s thrown a wrench in the works that changes the playing field in ways no one yet knows. I highly recommend this book for any fan of urban fantasy.

Finally, two books from one of my favorite authors, Larry Correia. The first, Monster Hunter Siege, is the latest in the series. As always, there are guns, monsters and explosions. What’s not to love? It also sets us up perfectly for what is to come next in the series. All I can say there is never, ever piss off a new mother who has access to more guns and things that go boom! than the military. It won’t end well for the bad guys. As for Siege itself, we get some answers about Owen’s past and a lot more questions about what’s to come. Larry, as always, hits it out of the park with this book.

The last book is available for pre-order with a release date of October 3rd. That’s Monster Hunter Files. This is an anthology set in the MHI universe. It includes stories by not only Larry but also Jim Butcher, John Ringo, Sarah A. Hoyt, Faith Hunter, Brad Torgersen and more. I can hardly wait. I am not usually a fan of anthologies but this one, from everything I’ve seen and heard, will be well worth the money.

Now I guess I’d best find another cup of coffee and get to work. Until later!

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