It’s been two years since I’ve posted to my blog. The political climate here in the U.S. has aggravated the chronic illness that interferes with life on a daily basis, but I make the best use of time wherever possible.
The wearing of masks during this COVID pandemic has become a contested issue and one I feel compelled to weigh in on. I wrote this article between flareups and would like to share it with you now.
I hope to be back in blogging mode in a few months, when the chaos here in the U.S. sorts itself out. I miss writing and posting, visiting friends’ blogs, and I’ve desperately missed all of you!
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE. It is earned. It is earned by being a responsible member of society.
Under the U.S. Constitution, we have certain inalienable rights. If we break the law – if we commit a willful act of violence – we could lose those rights temporarily or permanently and, thus, lose our freedom.
Not wearing a mask during this COVID pandemic is a willful act of violence, even if we tested negative a day ago or an hour ago. Why? 1. False negatives can and do occur; 2. We can contract the virus between the time we were tested and when we encounter others. If we do not wear a mask and then transmit the virus to another, this translates into criminally negligent homicide. Why? Because we have ignored the science and the health experts who repeatedly inform us that COVID is extremely virulent and masks should always be worn while we are in public. Thus, we willfully endanger the life of another.
If you say to me: “My freedom doesn’t end where your fear begins,” then I say to you: “My life doesn’t end where your denial begins.” If you say you have a right to freedom, then I say I have a right to life.
If you say I should remain isolated for fear of contracting COVID, then I say I’m not the anti-masker who could conceivably infect hundreds, if not thousands of others; and because I wear a mask, I’m not the potential living, breathing pathogen – you are. In our society, we quarantine those who are a danger to the lives of others.
I worked as an RN for decades and saw first-hand how quickly contagion spreads. I initiated isolation protocols more times than I can count. I sat with patients dying without the comfort of loved ones at their bedside. Thousands of COVID patients and their families have endured this. I do not want to be complicit in this tragedy.
Rights and freedoms coexist within a democratic society. They become mutually exclusive when one threatens the other.
Freedom is not free. Our right to freedom must be earned by respecting the rights of others and accepting responsibility for our actions.
Terror is defined as intense overpowering fear. Terrorism is defined as the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. A terrorist is defined as a person who employs terror, especially as a political weapon.
Millions in America and around the world are living in terror under the Trump administration. In the United States, seniors and the poor and disabled live under the threat of having our health care and housing ripped away. Congressional Republicans (GOP) regularly conspire, behind closed doors, to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and many other programs on which the most vulnerable depend.
It’s infuriating to hear the GOP refer to these programs as entitlements. THEY ARE NOT. We paid in to them out of every pay check we’ve ever earned. Eliminating them is nothing short of grand theft.
When I became ill with fibromyalgia-chronic fatigue, I was unable to continue working and had to apply for disability and Medicare. This illness is debilitating, and I’ve written about it extensively in my Chronic Illness posts listed in the above menu. While waiting the nearly two years it took to be approved for permanent disability, I was forced to exhaust my retirement savings. As a result, Social Security is my only source of income, Medicare and Medicaid are my only options for health care, and the only housing I can afford is government-assisted.
Can you imagine what it’s like to wake up every morning wondering if you still have health care and a roof over your head? It’s terrifying. Many seniors, poor, and disabled will die without health care, and many more will die if forced into the streets. If living under this threat isn’t terrorism, then what is it?
Have our elected officials forgotten that they’re public servants and work for us, not the other way around? The Trump administration is imposing the will of the minority on the majority and making us fear its goal is ridding the country of all those it considers irrelevant. No wonder terror is a constant in our lives.
All of this has affected me by causing a flareup of the fibro-fatigue. I’ve been off line most of the week and don’t know when it will ease up. Flareups either lay me flat or leave me with a very short window within which to function every day. Since the treacherous political climate in my country is adversely affecting the entire world, I’ve chosen to use that short daily window to compose this post. It’s quite long, and I’m sure I haven’t touched on everything. But there’s just no way to abridge the duplicity of Donald Trump.
Anyone who traffics in fear is a terrorist.
Donald Trump’s form of terrorism is both blatant and insidious. He employs lies and innuendo to exacerbate fear and anger in the authoritarian personality who feels disenfranchised and/or is zealously religious. He lies bold-faced and often, feeding his base what they want to hear and hoping everyone will become immunized against the truth. The Republican-controlled Congress is complicit in his terrorism by either publicly supporting him or remaining silent and doing nothing.
Trump’s motto: Lie. Deny. Blame.
Trump should not be underestimated. He’s a clever bully who lies and cheats to get what he wants. He’s a narcissist whose only concern is himself and his survival. His message is one of bigotry, misogyny, and xenophobia. It attacks our psyches via a daily barrage of deceit and hatred that foments divisiveness and unrest. He never admits to lying and will say anything to make himself look good. He has advocated dehumanization by denigrating anyone who speaks truth to power or who is different – different from him, a white male plutocrat.
Trump has created an environment where bigotry is sanctioned, ruthlessness is applauded, and extremist values are encouraged. Some who have long felt ignored and disenfranchised take their cues from him. His incessant xenophobic comments arouse anger and hatred in some, disgust and fear in others.
I’m a negotiator like you folks. –Speaking to Republican Jewish Coalition, 3 December 2015
He’s a Mexican. –Reason given why Gonzalo Curiel, federal judge presiding over class action suit against for-profit Trump University, could not fairly hear the case
Who the f knows? I mean, really, who knows how much the Japs will pay for Manhattan property these days? –Response to Time Magazine when asked to give estimate of his total wealth
He has said Blacks are lazy, Mexicans are rapists, women are bimbos.
The U.S Justice Department has sued his company twice for not renting to Black people.
And the list goes on.1
Trump’s lies have been well-documented by many sources.2 He calls them truthful hyperboles, but their effects are malignant. People who resonate with his lies adamantly refuse to accept them as anything but truth. If we become immune to Trump’s deceit, the moral framework of our country will erode. And he’s counting on this.
Sexual Abuse and Misogyny
A video3 of Donald Trump on the set of Days of Our Lives in 2005 records him describing how he likes to sexually assault women.
I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married.
I did try and fuck her. She was married.
Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.
You have to treat ’em like shit.
And during an interview with Esquire: You know, it doesn’t matter what the media writes as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.
Many women have accused Trump of sexual abuse,4 yet he avows no one loves women more than he does. I’d like to know how he defines love.
His primary interest is keeping his followers happy in order to maintain power. The bottom-line issue for many in his base is abortion, which they call murder while simultaneously condoning capital punishment. The cornerstone of the anti-choice position is the religious belief that a soul enters a body at conception. Science has yet to prove this. In the 1973 Roe v. Wade landmark decision issued by the U.S. Supreme Court, justices upheld the separation of church and state mandated by the Constitution. In a 7-2 vote they decided that criminalizing or restricting access to abortion is unconstitutional.
But Trump shows little regard for the Constitution. Legislating female bodies would serve his autocratic misogynist purposes by relegating women to second-class citizenship. Women who seek an abortion could be imprisoned until they give birth, and then indicted for attempted murder. Pregnant women who even mention considering an abortion could be thrown in jail.
From sexual-assault and marital-rape allegations to racial housing discrimination to antitrust violations, Trump’s scandal sheet is almost second to none.5
Condoning and Sanctioning Violence
On the eve of Montana Republican Greg Gianforte’s election to the House of Representatives, Ben Jacobs, a reporter for the Guardian newspaper, asked for his reaction to a report by the Congressional Budget Office, which showed that the House GOP substitute for the Affordable Care Act would result in 23 million Americans losing health insurance. Gianforte’s reaction was witnessed and reported by a Fox News team:
Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. … Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, ‘I’m sick and tired of this!’ Jacobs scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken… To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff’s deputies.
Donald Trump’s reaction? He praised Greg Gianforte’s election as a great win in Montana.
Comments like this condone violence and incite his followers. They’re directly responsible for the numerous death threats sent to Congresswoman Maxine Waters, stating she should be lynched or shot. Waters’ response: If you shoot me, you better shoot straight. There’s nothing like a wounded animal.
In Brandenburg vs. Ohio, the Supreme Court ruled that the government can’t punish inflammatory speech unless that speech “is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” This citing refers to a citizen’s behavior at a rally.
However, Donald Trump is no mere citizen – he is the President of the United States. Anyone holding this office is (has been?) considered the leader of the free world and must be held to a high moral standard. The following quotes by our current POTUS are nowhere near that caliber:
I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters. –Sioux Center, Iowa during the 2016 primaries
I’ll beat the crap out of you.
Knock the crap out of them.
Maybe he should have been roughed up.
Part of the problem … is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore.
The audience hit back and that’s what we need a little bit more of.
They used to treat them very, very rough, and when they protested once, they would not do it again so easily. We’ve become weak.
I’d like to punch him in the face.
Again, the list goes on.6
Attacks on Journalists and Reporters
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ensures freedom of speech and press, hallmarks of democracy. When dictators come to power, these are the first freedoms annihilated.
Investigative journalists and reporters spend hours (at times, years) researching a story before bringing it to the public. They often expose matters deliberately or accidentally concealed.
The Press should hold accountable Donald Trump and his administration for all lies perpetrated against the American people. When Sarah Huckabee Sanders lies during press briefings, reporters should call her out or walk out in unison, sending the undeniable message that deceit will not be tolerated.
As a body, investigative journalists and reporters seek the truth and strive to report it. Yet Trump persists in labeling the media fake news. Could he be priming his base not to believe the outcome of the Mueller investigation? He admits to this in an interview with Diane Sawyer.7 And he’s not alone. Enter Russia and China.8
Obstructing the Mueller Investigation
Trump persists in denying that he and his campaign colluded with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election, despite several of his associates having been indicted. The GOP has facilitated his attempts to sabotage and obstruct by issuing a number of subpoenas for documents related to the investigation, disregarding Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd’s warning that the request risks potential loss of human lives.
It’s common practice not to release information in an ongoing investigation, because doing so would compromise its integrity. Information demanded by the GOP in the past was taken straight to the White House and shared with Trump, even though he’s a person of interest in the investigation.
It is against the law to disclose classified information to someone not authorized to receive it. –U.S. Department of Justice
Much of DOJ’s work involves non-public, sensitive matters. Disseminating non-public, sensitive information about DOJ matters could violate federal laws, employee non-disclosure agreements, and individual privacy rights; put a witness or law enforcement officer in danger; jeopardize an investigation or case; prejudice the rights of a defendant; or unfairly damage the reputation of a person. –U.S. Department of Justice
Trump and the GOP are laying groundwork to discredit the Mueller investigation and fire Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. If Trump is found to have colluded with Russia and if one of his ultra-conservative nominees is appointed to the Supreme Court, he could pardon himself and have that pardon upheld by the law of the land.9
Inhumane Immigration Policy
When cruelty becomes policy, democracy is in danger.
Everyone has the right to immigrate as well as protect their borders. How these two are balanced determines and exemplifies a nation’s moral integrity. The United States of America is a country of immigrants, signified by the Statue of Liberty representing freedom from tyranny and oppression. The only people who truly have a right to claim indigenous status are the Native Americans of this land.
Trump’s forced separation of migrant families is both illegal and immoral.
These findings underscore that families arriving at the border often have compelling and valid claims that merit full consideration by federal immigration judges. –California Law Review June 201810
Removing children from their parents is state-sanctioned child abuse. Children as young as three years old are brought to trial without a parent or attorney present and expected to answer questions in their own defense. Yet the U.S. entitles children to an attorney and doesn’t allow police to question them without a parent present. International law also allows for due process. So why are migrant children being treated differently? And why are immigrants seeking sanctuary being treated as criminals?
The U.S. Constitution ensures that rights established by the Declaration of Independence are protected, even from the federal government, and it grants state and local governments the right to refuse enforcing federal law. Congress is authorized to establish laws for naturalization and immigration. But the preamble to the Constitution defines with whom ultimate authority lies:
We the People of the United States.
The Supreme Court has consistently upheld that “We the People” refers to all who stand within U.S. borders. Food for thought, isn’t it?
Although the Constitution doesn’t explicitly protect immigrants, the Supreme Court has granted them Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment protections, arguing that references to “any person” covers noncitizens. Courts have routinely held that the Constitution strictly forbids separating children from their parents, unless the parent is a threat to the child.
Trump alleges that immigration is at an all-time high. Statistics show otherwise. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Southwest-border immigration peaked in 2000 and has since declined.11 He also alleges that most immigrants entering the U.S. are sex traffickers, rapists, criminals, or work for drug cartels. Again, statistics prove him wrong.12
Our government has abandoned its moral leadership.
Trump would have the Supreme Court overturn every ruling that doesn’t serve his interests. A narcissist is incapable of consideration beyond his own benefit. His bigoted and sectarian approach to governing is threatening the very core of U.S. democracy.
The three branches of U.S. government are expected to be strict constitutionalists, nonpartisan in upholding life, liberty, and the pursuit of justice for all. They’re expected to uphold the separation of church and state, one of the many principles upon which The United States was founded. These principles of democracy should be championed, regardless and in spite of influence leveraged by special interests or foreign powers.
Donald Trump either has no idea what constitutes a democracy, or he just doesn’t give a damn. As one pundit so eloquently stated, He thinks his job is to bark orders and crush dissent. Trump blames Democrats for policies solely created by himself as Chief Executive. Yet Democrats have no majority in the House, no majority in the Senate, and no one in an administrative position in the Trump White House. As another pundit stated, A real leader faces the music even when he doesn’t like the tune.
Trump has hijacked our democracy and is serving it up to the plutocrats.
Trump is advancing fascism: radical authoritarian ultranationalism, characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and control of industry and commerce. Although his 2017 tax bill lowers individual taxes, the cuts expire after 2025. Corporate tax cuts, however, are permanent and deep, and inheritances shielded from estate taxation double. This will drive up the federal debt considerably; hence, the GOP’s threat of cutting vital programs relied upon by seniors and the poor and disabled.
The reach of this bill extends far beyond taxes. It eliminates the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which ensured guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions. The Congressional Budget Office projects insurance premiums will rise about 10% annually as a result. This bill also opens the Alaskan Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling.13
The Trump administration is on a mission to reverse myriad environmental protections. The Administrator of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is charged with enforcing our nation’s environmental statutes. Instead, Scott Pruitt is systematically undermining them, sacrificing our children’s future for short-term personal gain.14
Democracy isn’t merely the right to vote. If it were, Russia would not be autocratic. A true democracy is governed by the rule of law, where the minority is protected from the majority by adhering to the moral standards set forth in its constitution.
If Trump does know what constitutes a democracy, then he’s on a persistent and diabolical mission to dismantle it. Testament to this are his admiration for dictators Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Un; alienating our most trusted allies; withdrawing from international bodies and agreements; relentless attacks on the media; incessant lying to the American people; denigrating anyone who disagrees with him or by whom he feels threatened; and (add your 2 cents here).
I urge all of us not to turn a deaf ear to Trump’s lies and throw up our hands in surrender. Trump traffics in fear and counts on us absorbing his propaganda. He preys on the fears of the ignorant, systematically calling to the fore everything they hold dear and convincing them only he can serve their interests and save them from all that threatens.
But therein lies the truth. He has created an imaginary world where he reigns as king, hoping most of us will ultimately waive our rights in exchange for security – security threatened only by his terrorism.
I’ve had many dialogues with Trump supporters, and few have responded with respect. Most either leave the discussion or resort to name-calling when asked to back up their statements with facts.
In a moment of tolerant pondering, I wondered what the difference was between their ideology and mine. A good friend kindly pointed out that the difference is one of belief versus rational thought.
One of the arguments I often hear is that all the negatives ascribed to Trump began under previous administrations. There’s some truth in this, but no other President has sanctioned them.
Of this I am certain: Trump is making America great again by awakening the masses and compelling us to safeguard our democracy against his would-be dictatorship.
Last year I reviewed Timothy Snyder’s book, On Tyranny. I recommend it as crucial reading while our democracy hangs in the balance.
The road to tyranny can be subtle, drawing people in with false or exaggerated claims of terrorism from homeland or abroad. Real news is purported to be fake and is consistently repeated as such, gradually moving people to mistake falsehoods for truth. Free thinkers become the enemy of the State, and the exercise of free speech becomes a criminal act.
The more I dedicate my time to two things, the more they fill my life with ever-increasing pleasure. The first is the sky above me, and the second is the moral law within me. –Immanuel Kent
It’s essential we keep abreast of this duplicitous political climate and take action every day to transmute it. It’s equally vital we not get sucked into its vortex. While calling out oppressors and naming their heinous deeds, we must not allow ourselves to become them. We must be that which we respect and emulate. With every ounce of our beings, we must focus our united intention on the change we wish to see and direct that energy into the world.
The only way to do this is by keeping our hearts open to all. To ALL. Hearts don’t have revolving doors. Open is open and closed is closed. Separate the person from the essence. Forgive the soul but hold the person responsible. We can throw someone out of our homes while keeping them in our hearts.
This can be difficult and extremely nauseating, but it’s not impossible. If we don’t come from a place of love in our hearts in all we do, we’ll eventually succumb to all that we abhor. Only love can eradicate fear. It is imperative we embody this. Our lives depend on it.
Colleen is the author of The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy, the story of fourteen-year-old Abigale Forester, who discovers her true destiny is to protect the nymphs from evil in an ever-changing modern world.
Colleen is the founder of The Sisters of the Fey, the blogging collaboration of nine women whose “magic is inspired by a secret order of fairies that existed hundreds of years ago [and] which has been reborn in our spirits.” She offers weekly poetry and Tanka challenges on her blog, and is an avid reader who book reviews are outstanding.
Please join me in welcoming Colleen ❤️
HAPPY SUMMER SOLSTICE!
I’ve planned this day out in my mind for over a year… Today, as a tribute to the Summer Solstice, my first book of poetry and short stories has become a reality. Fairies, Myths, & Magic ~ A Summer Celebration is now available on Amazon.
From June 21st through June 27th, this book will be featured at the introductory price of $.99! Grab your copy today!
Step into a world where fairies, dragons, and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by the celebration of Litha, the Summer Solstice.
Meet Drac, a dragon cursed by his own poisonous deeds, and two pixies who help an old man remember a lost love. You’ll meet a pair of fairies with a sense of humor, and a young girl who fulfills her destiny after being struck by lightning. Learn what happens when a modern witch’s spell goes terribly wrong. Meet the Sisters of the Fey, a group of Slavic Witches who sign a pact with the Rusalki Fey to preserve their magic for the good of all.
Atmospheric and haunting, the prose and poetry, will rewrite the mythologies of the past bringing them into the future.
What’s Litha ~ the Summer Solstice?
Litha is the celebration of the Summer Solstice—June in the Northern Hemisphere, and December in the Southern Hemisphere. Here in North America, the Litha Sabbat honors the longest day of the year with the most hours of sunlight.
Pagans celebrated Litha by observing and honoring the power of the sun. The sun’s influence reminded the people that the summer months represented fertility, ensuring the survival of the species.
During midsummer, magnificent fruit burst forth from the flowers, shrubs, and trees, providing ample food for all. Summer was also the most favorable time for the birthing and survival of animals, birds, and insects. This also included humans where the most births occurred during the months of July through October, which still continues today.
For the ancients, nothing represented the power of the sun more than fire. On the Solstice Eve, huge bonfires were erected on hilltops celebrating the link between the earth and heavens. Festivities lasted for days before and after the main event.
Yet, the primitive people recognized the need for balance between fire and water. Some celebrations included setting a wheel on fire, then rolling it downhill into a body of water, signaling the power of the sun at it’s mightiest, and also the day the sun’s power begins to diminish.
For me, a Summer Solstice celebration was the perfect day to share my collection of poetry and short stories inspired by the magic of the ancient pagans. I hope you’ll enjoy this collection. ❤️
Colleen M. Chesebro is an American Novelist writing YA fantasy and magical realism, cross-genre fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. She loves all things magical which may mean that she could be experiencing her second childhood—or not. That part of her life hasn’t been fully decided yet.
A few years ago, a mystical experience led her to renew her passion for writing and storytelling. These days she resides in the fantasy realm of the Fairy Whisperer where she writes the magical poetry and stories that the fairy nymphs whisper to her in her dreams.
Colleen won the Little and Laugh Flash Fiction Contest sponsored by the CarrotRanch Literary Community.com in November 2017 for her piece, called “The Bus Stop.” Her debut novel, The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy won gold in the 2017 AuthorsDB.com cover contest.
Colleen lives in Colorado with her husband, Ron. When she is not writing, Colleen enjoys spending time with her husband and friends. She also loves gardening, reading, and crocheting old-fashioned doilies into works of art. You can learn more about Colleen at www.colleenchesebro.com.
You can find Colleen in all the usual places. Drop by anytime.
It is with great pleasure that I’m hosting authors John Howell and Gwen Plano on the blog tour for their new book. Please join me in welcoming them ❤️
The CONTRACT between heaven and earth
By John W. Howell & Gwen M. Plano
Thank you, Tina, for inviting us to join you today. We are so grateful to be featured on your lovely blog and have this opportunity to share a bit about our new book. You are an inspiration to all who know you. All the best to you!
The CONTRACTis a different story for writers John W. Howell and Gwen M. Plano. For either of them, it is their first attempt at co-authorship. After a year of Hurricane Harvey and other challenges, they have created, what they have termed, an inspirational thriller that bridges heaven and earth.
The earth is threatened with a catastrophic political event which could result in international warfare and destroy all life on the planet. In heaven, a divine council decides that extraordinary measures are essential. They call for an intervention that involves two souls returning to earth. The chosen two sign a contract that they will work to avert the disaster.
Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O’Brien, a teacher, become heaven’s representatives on earth. The story follows them as they individually and then together face overwhelming obstacles and eventually end up on a strategic Air Force base in California. It is there that they discover a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States. The terrorists have a plan for global dominance, and they are determined to complete their mission. Although military leadership appearsto have the President’s best interests at heart, it is not clear who can be trusted and who should be feared. The action is rough and tumbleas Brad and Sarah try to figure out the culprits for the plot that will turn into a worldwide conflagration unless stopped.
If you enjoy thrillers, this is one with enough twists and adventure to keep you riveted and guessing. If you like your thriller along with a good romance, Brad and Sarah’s initial attraction and eventual love will sustain you as they live out their heavenly and earthly desires.
“I’m leading a private group up Half Dome in a few minutes. I’m the poster boy for getting paid to do what I love to do, and along the way, help harried folks discover what’s important in life.” John flashed a broad smile.
“I wish I could join your group; I’d like to hear what you have to say.”
“I don’t say much; the mountain does the talkin’. When hikers stand on its crest and look out over the wilderness, most become speechless. That’s when they start to wonder about their lives and the choices they make. They see for themselves that everything is interconnected.”
“I get what you mean, but some things are beyond our control. Look at the earthquake that hit San Diego and collapsed the grammar school. So many little ones died in that tragedy.”
“And you don’t think human choices had anything to do with that calamity? Most folks live without a thought to our environment. But, on top of that, I believe collective anger manifests. I don’t even watch the news anymore; it’s too toxic for me.”
“Well, I agree with you on that point. And, it makes sense that strong emotions manifest. Now I really want to join your group, but I’ve got to get back on the road, and find a bicycle.” Sarah stood and extended her hand for a shake.
“Enjoy the experience, Sarah. No matter what hurdles lay ahead, pursue joy; she will guide you to the happiness you seek. Life’s too precious to lose even a moment.”
John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. The last Circumstances of Childhood is a family life story and launched October 2017. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.
John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.
Gwen had a lengthy career in higher education, and it was there that she published her first book, Beyond Boundaries, for students interested in volunteer work in developing countries. After she retired, she wrote her award-winning memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love.
I’m delighted to help promote the relaunch of Billy Ray Chitwood‘s novel, Mama’s Madness, to be released June 21st. Billy Ray is the author of 14 books, in the genres of fiction and nonfiction memoir. Many of his novels were inspired by true events. He describes himself as a dreamer, a wanderlust, a stereotype of many in his generation, and a young man in an old man’s body who is trying to catch up with himself and find the pieces he left behind in a disconnected youth and early years of manhood.
A story inspired by a northern California news account a few years ago … Some of the details in this fictional penning are true. Some of the details are exaggerated and are simply the work of the author’s imagination. What is clearly evidenced in this novel is the coldness of a mother’s heart and the madness of her cruelty. The mind cannot comprehend lives the children depicted here were forced to endure: from black punishment closets of hell (for days, not hours!), kitchen tables used for crudely performed operations, to a high sierra execution by fire. The terror is real. The pain is vicariously felt. Unbelievable? Yes, it is unbelievable that such depravity, such MAMA’S MADNESS exists in our world. Accept the embellishments with the truth. Know your environment and be safe!
“Mama’s Madness” by Billy Ray Chitwood is an excellently written story about an abused protagonist (Tammie Jo), her sociopathic mama, and the senseless crimes that Mama and her accomplices commit and are eventually held accountable for. As unsettling as the characters and their behavior may be, Chitwood manages to almost balance their menace with the goodness and dedication of law enforcement and Tammie Jo’s struggle to reconcile her environment with her possible future (or her lack of a future if Mama is left unrestrained). Chitwood’s ability to interweave the profile of a monster, the coming of age and redemption of a girl, and a fascinating multiple-murder investigation is masterful. I highly recommend “Mama’s Madness” for lovers of gritty murder investigations that include the perpetrator’s, victim’s, and detectives’ point-of-views. I will certainly continue reading Mr. Chitwood’s body of work.
Please join me in welcoming Billy Ray to my blog.
Tell us a little about yourself. Born in Appalachia during the aftermath of the Great Depression, I somehow survived those tumultuous years of poverty, mobility and family disconnect. I’m a romantic, a wanderlust with too much ‘Past’ in my awareness…reconciled to the fact those parts of me will never change: those parts have been with me all the way and live with me now in ‘Twilight’ – always looking for the ‘White Buffalo’.
In what genre is Mama’s Madness and who published it? This novel is inspired by true events in the genres of Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Child Abuse. Self-published through CreateSpace (Amazon).
The storyline? Meet a mother from hell! I ran across the California newspaper clippings from years ago about a Northern California mother who tortured her six kids – the three girls most specifically – with beatings, dark-closet punishments that could last for days, eating lard and their own retch, standing erect or on their knees for hours at a time. She kills two of the girls by fire, leaving one girl to fear for her life…an amazing story, fictionalized with lots of true elements!
What inspired you to write it? Thinking of my own kids, reading the clippings about these California crimes made me angry, made me cry, plus the ‘junk in my mind’s attic,’ conspired and inspired me to write a fictionalized account of this evil ‘woman from hell!’ It was a tough book to write and it’s a tough book to read! My hope is the book will serve as a silent siren for parents and children to be aware that evil exists in our world, to be aware of their environments, the stranger in the park, the offer of a ride home, et al.
What inspires you to write in general? Hope this is not too corny or trite, but something magical happens for me when my fingers touch the laptop keys…it’s like invisible fingers are tapping those keys, creating what I believe to be good, sometimes great writing! The ‘business’ (marketing, the internet) of writing stymies me, but the writing itself satisfies a need within me. I can say truthfully that Writing is my therapy!
In what sub-genres do you write? Cross-Genres…The whole spectrum actually: mystery, suspense, thriller, romance, memoir, time travel, history. My romance books get very little attention from the reading public, but that’s because, frankly, I don’t know what I’m doing in marketing them.
When and what did you first start writing? As a kid I wrote poetry – at least, my Mom called it poetry. I thought about becoming a singer but my shyness was a major factor in not following that course. I wrote off and on through the work years, and really got serious about it around the 1980s.
What authors have most influenced you? How and why? John D. MacDonald hooked me with his Travis McGee Novels. I read all twenty-one: each title contained a color: The Deep Blue Good-by; Nightmare in Pink; A Purple Place for Dying; The Quick Red Fox. These books were all written in 1964. Tall good-looking Travis lived aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and each book is action-packed as Travis helps a friend or someone get out of trouble. John D. sold over 70 million copies of his books over his 70-year life span. It broke my heart when I lost those 21 books in one of my moves… The English Romantic poets rang my bell in college, as did the Naturalist Writers: Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, Jack London, Theodore Dreiser (Sister Carrie), and others. Today, I like Nelson DeMille’s smooth-flowing style.
How do you write – outline or free flow? Most of my writing is free flow. I’ve also done outlines, but, for me, I like to let my characters take my laptop tapping wherever it is they go and whatever they do.
What genres do you like to read? Mystery, suspense, memoirs.
I’d like to thank Billy Ray for being my guest and wish him all the best with his relaunch.
I found Andrew about thirteen years ago down in Miami. Nowadays we live on a boat in Fort Lauderdale, but I’m originally from Miami. Andrew, as far as I know, has always lived in Fort Lauderdale.
I was six months old and I wanted to go out and see the world. I wasn’t getting any younger and the lure of the road was calling to me. So, one day when no one was looking, I just took off. At first, I had a grand time. I’d sniff my way up one street and then down the next. I met up with a few other dogs, chased a few cars, and thought to myself, This is the life. But after a day or so, I started to get hungry and, unlike the home I had left, the humans I ran into had no desire to feed me. I did get…
I’m a guest of Marcia Meara today, on her #ShareAReviewDay series. Marcia’s blog is an eclectic mix of supportive, informative, and entertaining posts. If you’re not familiar with Marcia (and even if you are!), you’re in for a treat. Please visit her blog to comment, and share from there. My thanks to Marcia for hosting me, and to you for stopping by ❤️
I never participated in the vampire reading craze that took over the fantasy genre after the successes of the famous books, “Twilight” or “Interview with the Vampire.” There was always too much blood and lust for my taste. Now upon deeper reflection, I may have missed out on some fascinating stories.
I also never considered the intriguing literary possibilities behind the disease of vampirism. Yet, that is exactly what attracted me to Tina Frisco’s hit novel, Vampyrie.
The protagonist, Phoebe Angelina Delaney is portrayed as a strong compassionate woman with a reputation for facing peril head-on. She is a fierce defender of her friends and loved ones. I immediately connected with Phoebe’s character and loved that she was written like a real person, filled with flaws and fears just like the rest of us.
Why did Phoebe’s father keep their family history a secret? Why did her mother disappear when Phoebe was a child? The story unravels, bit by bit, guiding the reader along on Phoebe’s journey where she must confront the secrets of her past and come to grips with the reality of her true identity. It’s not easy to face the real world when it turns upside down, but Phoebe shows us what’s she made of.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the character, W’Hyani, from one of the author’s prior novels, “Plateau, Beyond the Trees,” play an important role in this novel. The tie-in of characters was a brilliant addition by the author. What W’Hyani brings to this novel is the same thing she brought to the first novel – a sense of hope for the future of humanity; even though the characters find themselves embroiled in the midst of a war that must be won.
“Vampyrie” stands out from other supernatural tales because the vampire theory we have all come to expect has been rewritten with a twist where medical science skillfully revises the history of vampirism. This hypothesis holds a credibility that lends a sense of realism to the story I didn’t expect. It was a great divergence that kept me totally engaged in the mystery.
Yes, there was blood, and fangs, and some gore; but it wouldn’t be a vampire novel without those elements. I can only say I found myself pleasantly surprised when I discovered the fundamental theme of the book bestowed a philosophical message of growth, strength, and change.
If you think you know vampire novels, think again. “Vampyrie” rewrites the stereotypes and character archetypes you’ve come to expect into something fresh and new. I bet even the vampires approve!
What if vampires were not the undead, but rather the dying? What if there were two factions among vampires: the sustained and the unsustainable? And what if those factions were at war with one another over the life of a young woman who promised them a future? Vampyrie brings the myth of the vampire into the realm of possibility.
Phoebe Angelina Delaney is a reluctant genius and compassionate hothead. She finds herself in a pitch-dark underground and doesn’t remember how she got there. Did she drink too much alcohol and wander off in a stupor, or was she kidnapped by a malicious element determined to make her life a living hell?
Sir Michael Alan David is a vampire – an enigma, charismatic and mysterious, who weaves in and out of Phoebe’s life. Does he intend to use his title as a ruse to draw her closer to an unearthly fate, or is he a cloak-and-dagger knight in shining armor?
Too many secrets have been kept for too long. Phoebe must unravel the mystery in order to survive. Two major characters from the author’s first novel, Plateau, join forces with Phoebe to battle the demons in Vampyrie.
Jacqui Murrayhas just released her latest novel,Born in a Treacherous Time, and I’m so pleased to help her promote it. She’s doing a blog hop beginning today and running through June 21st. Jacqui has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is editor/author of over 100 tech ed resources, including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, and K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.
Born in the harsh world of East Africa 1.8 million years ago, where hunger, death, and predation are a normal part of daily life, Lucy and her band of early humans struggle to survive. It is a time in history when man was relentlessly annihilated by predators, nature, his own people, and the next iteration of the species. To make it worse, Lucy’s band hates her. She may be their leader’s new mate but they don’t understand her odd actions, don’t like her strange looks, and don’t trust her past. To survive, she cobbles together an unusual alliance with an orphaned child, a beleaguered protodog who’s lost his pack, and a man who was supposed to be dead.
Murray’s lean prose is steeped in the characters’ brutal worldview, which lends a delightful otherness to the narration …The book’s plot is similar in key ways to other works in the genre, particularly Jean M. Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear. However, Murray weaves a taut, compelling narrative, building her story on timeless human concerns of survival, acceptance, and fear of the unknown. Even if readers have a general sense of where the plot is going, they’ll still find the specific twists and revelations to be highly entertaining throughout.
A well-executed tale of early man.
Please join me in welcoming Jacqui to my blog. Let’s learn more about her and her work.
Before I start, Tina, I’d like to thank you for hosting me on your wonderful blog and for the opportunity to get to know your community. This is quite an honor!
You’re most welcome, Jacqui. I’m delighted to host you! Tell us something personal about yourself. I adore my husband and my dog (not necessarily in that order). I have two amazing children, one a SGT in the Army and the other a LT CMDR (Select) in the Navy. I am blessed with my family!
Tell us a little about your new book. My latest novel is prehistoric fiction, Born in a Treacherous Time, to be released June 2018. It is Book 1 of my Man vs. Nature series, planned for four books covering man’s rise from helpless prey to apex predator. I’m excited to get this story out there and hope it will inspire the main character to stop nagging me!
Born in a Treacherous Timeis Lucy’s story, how she and her band of early humans struggle to survive in the harsh reality of a world where nature rules, survival is a daily challenge, and a violent band threatens to destroy everything Lucy thinks she understands.
If you like Bear Grylls’ Man vs. Wild, you’ll love this book. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the ten-syllable academic explanations, this book is for you. It will bring that world to life in a way never seen before.
What inspired you to write it?I started writing to understand historic events better. Nothing unravels history better than seeing people in real-life situations. I like to throw my characters off a ledge and see if they learn to fly. There is no high as great as solving the unsolvable.
How do you write – outline or free flow?I write from an outline. I put everything into a spreadsheet first, add details, shake everything up, move rows around, and then convert it to Word where I flesh the story out. I know it’s a bit odd but it works well for me!
What subjects do write about on your blog? I have several blogs (thank you for the opportunity to share them!):
USNA or Bust, for high schoolers who just must go to the US Naval Academy
What is your current writing project?Currently, I am working on Book 2 in the Man vs. Natureseries. This one will explore early man’s migration from Africa to all parts of Asia, the Levant, and Europe. It’s tentatively called Crossroads (for obvious reasons) and should be out Summer 2019.
What advice would you give a new writer?The best I can offer—besides the de rigeur of ‘write well’–is write a lot. Making money at writing is as much a numbers game as anything else—the more books you have out, the more you sell. People are more likely to buy your first book if they see you’ve written a series.
What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book?I hope readers ofBorn in a Treacherous Timeare blown away with the majesty and nobility of early man. He was the first animal who didn’t rely on instinct to ensure his survival. Instead, he evaluated his surroundings and came up with new solutions to old problems. I am in awe of his tenacity and brilliance.
What is a fun fact about you?Few people know I used to be a professional ballroom dancer. I competed around the country and owned a dance studio. My favorite dances were tango, Paso Doble, and the venerable fox trot. I haven’t danced since I got married. My husband isn’t a fan and nothing I could do would change his mind!
Perhaps Jacqui could hold a dance-a-thon on her blog. It would be great fun and could very well go viral 🙂
I’d like to thank Jacqui for being my guest. I’m sure we all wish her every success with her writing and her new book.
My country, the United States of America, is teetering on the brink of plutocracy. Our current President, a clever but ignorant aspiring autocrat, feeds the racist and misogynist proclivities of a minority demographic on a daily basis. I’m tempted to qualify these statements in detail, but fellow blogger Gronda Morin already has.
‘Good’ and ‘evil’ are relative terms. I see ‘good’ as that which advances the growth of the spirit, and ‘evil’ as that which subverts it. Manipulating the bigotry of others to suit one’s own purposes falls under the latter. I’m ever reminded of this quote attributed to Edmund Burke:
My country has awakened to the dangers of apathy, as evidenced by the plethora of activism across the nation. We have to keep our thumb on the pulse of current affairs, but we must not feed the beast of bigotry. I’m focusing my energy on the change I wish to see. My eyes are open, as my heart has always been.
Thanks so much for stopping by❤️
Max Boot: President Trump Has Been Working To Normalize Racism
As a former republican until 2016, I have become painfully aware that there is a racist living in the white House but President Donald Trump could never have been elected without the help and support of the current republican party which created the environment to guarantee his success.
In 2013, I had started to become painfully aware of a strain of racism that had permeated the republican party to where I finally left it in 2016. It started with the Trayvon Martin case. Too many in my former party (2012-2013) were propping up as a hero the likes of a bum, George Zimmerman. Then there was the demonizing of Trayvon Martin as a pot smoking thug when he was just a kid walking home from a store. When George Zimmerman was declared “not guilty” by a Florida jury, a Pew poll indicated that the vast majority White older republicans favored this vote. This was my wake-up call.
Along came the democrat President Barack Obama (2008-2016). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to push back on fellow republicans when they would spout their talking points, like President Obama was a Muslim, born in Kenya and not really an American. With rare occasions, did “we the people” hear FOX TV folks, and/ or republican leaders/ lawmakers out-rightly and firmly denouncing this talk?
I recall one example when Senator John McCain was running for the presidency in 2002 when he graciously corrected a woman in his audience who referred to President Obama as a Muslim who hates the USA.