Blah blah blah

I know, it’s been way too long since my last update and there has actually been a fair amount of things going on. Where to begin? So, I did end up purchasing a camper with a slide-out, a 32 footer, 2001 model that weighs a ton (not literally, thank god!) I still own the RV and will officially put it up for sale after the holidays. I also bought a 2003 Chevy Silverado and the engine roars to life like a beautiful beast… which is why I call it The Beast. Grandbaby says it’s a “Silverado” because it’s silver. *grins*

I started school. I withdrew from school two weeks later. *sighs* I shoulda followed my own instincts instead of allowed myself to be influenced to start when I did. It was too soon, plain and simple. I started October 30 and I honestly had still not recovered from the trauma of selling my house, moving into a hotel where my poor Collies got fleas for the first time in their lives, moving into the RV with a newly discovered roof leak that contributed to my bronchitis coming back with a vengeance, then moving into my camper which truly feels like a home to me, by the way. Moving happens to be one of the top five stressors and I moved three times within the space of roughly ninety days. I donated to NaNoWriMo and didn’t get my donation gifts, nor did I write anything due to school, etc. Heard a close family member is losing his fight to cancer, much to the dismay to his children – although he’s a true fighter and not ready to roll over and die, either… and, daughter’s landlord fell pretty darn ill and she is the main one that was visiting him in hospital for the three weeks he was there – and is doing most of his running, chores, etc.

I did manage to read a few more books, but only posted/wrote one review. After upping my Goodreads goal to 75 books, I need to read six more to meet said goal – but I am still two books ahead of schedule.

I paid off my Rooms To Go account, loaned my daughter a grand for x-mas shopping and more, paid on credit cards – but still owe more than I want still. I redecorated the camper – removed the high bed and now have an office in the former bedroom, and gave the futon to my elder grandbaby after I purchased an oh-so-comfy daybed. I’m kinda liking my iPhone 7, more than I ever did the iPhone 6, but some of the OS changes have made a few favored apps incompatible, and some are apps I purchased awhile ago. *grrrr* I am paying most of the housing costs for my family, which is still cheaper than what I has been paying in my house – for the most part. My Starbucks spending has roughly quadrupled and I’m spending on my credit cards as quickly as I make payments… hopefully it’ll slow once the holiday is over. Sheesh, and I don’t even like x-mas!

*laughs* Five hundred words in this post (and counting) is the most I’ve written in awhile. With that said, I am so outtie….

Wowsers

So, the closing went as smoothly as a closing can… the week in the hotel was plain out awful, the room sucked, my poor Collies got fleas there! My girls had never had fleas before in their lives, either. I purchased a used RV to live in, kind of too quickly cause it definitely has issues… but, the girls and I are parked in Spring & Bill’s front yard – with their flirtatious landlord’s permission, too. The girl’s stress level is beginning to level out, although they do get a bit nervous when I have to leave for a bit… they’re not getting enough exercise, either, with my sedate walking. Bill suggested I look into an actual camper and I have been, actually. A camper is slightly roomier compared to an RV; currently the girls and I trip over one another, a lot, especially if it comes with a slider.

I haven’t paid my credit cards in full, but have paid them down considerably; all of my former utilities are paid in full, of course. I outright own the RV and don’t pay rent, although I will be paying the larger portion of Spring & Bill’s electric bill to help them out, and I paid their internet bill – even though the speed is slower than molasses… hopefully, Xfinity will be installed on Friday the first. I have the lion’s portion of my house profit in a savings account, with several thousand dollars set aside for bill paying, too. I have refunds from my escrow account and house insurance coming yet, too. If I can get into a decent camper where I’m not tripping over my girls – two and four legged varieties – sometime soon-ish, I told Spring I could probably stay in her backyard for an indefinite time period, saving money to add to my savings and helping her out.

I completed another couple of reviews, although I’d actually read around five books during my time in the hotel. It took some time to upload them to the various sites… I also bought myself a new laptop. Dell Inspiron, of course. I gave Spring one of my other ones… oh, and bought myself an iPhone 7+ too, gave Spring my iPhone 5S. Been doing Starbucks for all adults almost daily – my biggest expense and necessary luxury! That’s the biggest highlights from the last two weeks. No writing, although getting ideas. Oh yeah, I’ve also been fighting a case of bronchitis since closing, too.

M’kay, I am so outtie….

Will I ever write again?

So I’m stressed, royally. On reviewing, I’m over 50 books now… just thought I’d mention that since my previous post was about some reviews, porn versus erotica. I checked with SNHU about possibly returning to school, working towards a BA in psychology to add to my current degree.

M’kay, I’ve kept this hush-hush… I was made an offer on my home that I felt I couldn’t turn down. Yeah, it’s officially Sunday now – closing is in two freakin’ days. Spring and family (Bill is such a hard worker!) have already moved all the big stuff – that I’m keeping – like my bedroom outfit, desks (I think I have four), bookcases (sheesh, six or seven I kept, two went to Goodwill and two went to Spring), couch and lazyboy rocker went to Spring, fridge (buyer wants to put a stainless steel one in, mine was black), and washer… the waterbed and matching oak dresser went to Goodwill, along with a very heavy desk and another couch.

Sounds okay so far, right? I still have a minimum of one trailer load of boxes to go into storage… yeah, every thing but my laptops, one desktop PC, and a couple of outfits, went into storage. Why? I have no clue where I’m gonna live. Hence, Stressville, U.S.A. I’m in a hotel for a week. Planned on doing house searches here which is why I kept the one desktop out… but, apparently the APC battery backup does NOT like the outlets here and keeps beeping. And my Collies are stressed enough without listening to the beeps. Sheesh, Stevie wouldn’t even walk upstairs to our room – booking.com sucks, btw – and had to be carried up by either Spring or D, I’m not sure who cause I was trying to get Luna to chill and quit whine/crying like she was injured. She’s scared. Both girls are, they’ve never been in a move before… I owned my home just shy of six years… Luna is five and Stevie is four. Add into the mix their alpha is stressed – moi’ – and we have semi-terrified dogs. *sighs*

I’m hungry. I’m sore. I’m exhausted. I need a shower. I was ready to cry when Spring and family went home. I hope sleeping in this king-size bed with me will help the girls chill out, cause I’m going to be in and out of the room from tomorrow on. Finishing up the house, closing, searching for a place to live… k, getting myself stressed again and watching Animal Planet was leveling me out. So, I am so outtie….

porn-vs-erotica

Finished another 2 books for the reading challenge, so now at 40 read with 5 to go to meet the current goal I’ve set. I’ll likely up the goal number before I read number 45, by the way.

The last piece I finished was highly distasteful to me; I called it porn and said it nowhere resembled a romance, let alone erotica. Why? The views are probably fairly subjective, as in: one mans porn is another mans erotica. Dr. Leon Seltzer PhD actually wrote an interesting article for Psychology Today titled “What Distinguishes Erotica from Pornography?” on April 6, 2011 which tries to define the difference between the two, and I tend to agree with much of what he said in the article.

To me, it boils down to: porn is a means to get turned on and find release; whereas, erotica may also do the same but brings in the sensuality of and emotional connection of possibly the very same acts. It doesn’t matter if its a man and a woman, man and a man, woman and a woman, or a combination of those two and/or more… it is the connection and emotions all of the parties show and feel for one another. It is not a difference in graphical description… I have read some very graphically explicit sex scenes that are pure, sensual erotica that can leave a reader with a hard-on or dripping wet, but they are still erotica and not porn – in my opinion – because of the sensuality and connections between the parties involved.

Connections, that’s the thing. ‘K, I am so outtie….

harshness

Still only doing reviews and not any creative writing; am now eighteen books ahead of schedule for the Goodreads/Kindle reading challenge. I’ve read 38 books so far out of my planned 45 year total goal. And another book started earlier tonight… late last night? (Er, since it’s officially after midnight, that is.)

Once upon a time, a female named Emma worked for Inkitt Publishing, and Emma did her homework before requesting this reviewer to read some of her clients writings. Not all of the work submitted was four or five star Amazon review material in this reviewer’s eyes, but Emma and I had a decent working relationship. Alas, then Emma stopped sending this reviewer anything… she had apparently left Inkitt. She was replaced by Kevin. Kevin, it would seem, not only does not review what his reviewers want to read, he also apparently does not read the books he sends them to review. Since Kevin started sending me requests, I have read more trash than I can remember ever reading. Tales with no plots. Stories that are told and never shown. – Writer’s remember, show, don’t tell! Writings that twist and turn to try to keep excitement going but never answer the questions they posed. Narratives so full of grammar, punctuation and spelling errors it makes a readers eyes bleed.

Hence my title for this piece. As a reviewer, my hope is that my critique will offer one persons viewpoint in the hopes of improving a piece or exchanging ideas. As a reviewer, I desperately try to critique in the way I was taught – comment on a positive for every negative mentioned. But, the last – three? Four? – stories Kevin sent me, I was hard pressed to find a single good thing to comment about. The stories were told. There were errors galore, including way too many tense issues. The writers seemed to change their plot or theme once they began their tale. Their characters were flat and one dimensional; two-dimensional characters almost seemed an improvement. Dialogue was stilted and unnatural sounding, often just repeating what the narrator had already told readers, over and over and over again. I don’t want to be ‘that mean reviewer’ that gives one or two star Amazon reviews… but that is what I’ve been reduced to. Thanks, Kevin.

I’m taking a break from Inkitt and reading writer requested stories. Hey, that’s how I found my newest fav paranormal romance writer, Tamsin Ley, after all! M’kay, back to reading my latest author requested tale, so I am so outtie….

Only reviews, still…

K, so I’m eight books ahead on my year total of 45 books to read for the year (recall, the Goodreads reading challenge sponsored by Kindle) but still no creative writing of my own. ** In other words, I’ve read 23 books since January 1, 2017, to date. Oh, and started another earlier today not factored into the total count yet. ** I have found a couple of new-to-me writer’s that I’ve reviewed and simply adore, though. Tamsin Ley sent me advanced reader copy’s (ARC’s) of two of her steamy romances featuring unusual shifter’s… so far, a merman and a centaur and both were yummy! Next planned project from Tamsin is a Djinn, so unsure how that’ll be. Next is Jen Blood and her newest mystery featuring a character she apparently had introduced in an earlier work, Jamie Flint, a canine rescue and search trainer/worker. It’s obvious Jen is a dog lover and pays attention to critter behavior, because her doggy descriptions and behaviors were absolutely spot on.

I know I explained to my Mom, years ago, how I hear voices in my head, i.e. the characters asking me or screaming at me to tell their stories; sometimes I can close my eyes when I hear a loud enough voice, and am able to describe the character fairly accurately… other times, they invade my dreams, take them over and show me tidbits of their story. So, I keep dreaming about a Scot named Cian… sometimes he’s a wolf shifter, sometimes a Druid, and sometimes both. And sometimes the right side of his face is scarred – which is really cool when he shifts to a wolf cause he’s a black wolf and the scars show as pure white hair on his muzzle and around his eye. (My daughter thinks the scarring is due to my nightly habit of falling to sleep to Phantom of the Opera, by the way.) He’s always an alpha male. Always. But I think he’s only showing me his ending. Not his death, dummies! His happily-ever-after ending, marriage and a bairn on the way. Cian puzzles me. I’ve dreamt of him for about two weeks now, and usually by that time I’ve gotten a world created and other general set-up taken care of. But the scenery keeps changing and Cian isn’t being very forth coming about any incidents in his life – other than when he got the scarring. That was from a witch hexing him before he was old enough to shift and heal, so the scarring is permanent. Still unsure why she hexed him, and something about the hex forcing him to turn into a feral wolf by his thirty-fifth birthday, unless he’s married to a woman that loves him. Huh. Guess he gave me more than I realized. In fairness, I have been sleep deprived so not always thinking clearly… staying up too late playing games and reading.

Wow. I guess I’ve really been messing up here, so I am so outtie….

Ahh, the reviewer

I haven’t been working on my stories lately. Poor Robert and Allison are still awaiting their ultimate connection while Lynette and Lachlan are in need of a cover before uploading/publishing. *sighs* However, that does not mean I’ve not been tending my craft, either.

I may have mentioned I joined the Kindle sponsored Goodreads read-a-thon and upped my one year reading goal to 45 books – from 30 – by year’s end. I am six books ahead of schedule, by the way, having finished fifteen books as of yesterday. And with each book comes a review, as well. So I have been busy writing, critically thinking, and poking my muse with – hopefully – well thought out and informative reviews.

Alas, one cannot please everyone all of the time. A book I finished on the first of this month, An Affair to Dismember, was reviewed; all reviews are first posted to Amazon, then one of my other domains (Scribes Canvas was formally a webhost reseller domain but is now a reviewing only site), and sometimes on Goodreads as well. I gave the story three stars on my Amazon review.  I felt it was fair; five stars are reserved for those stories that are truly extraordinary while a single star, and I’m not sure if I’ve even gone that low thus far, are for stories that I wished I never committed to read and want to forget, just utterly despise them for whatever reason. Three stars mean I liked the book well enough and recommend the writer to other readers, but does not necessarily mean I shall be a big fan of the writer or go out of my way to purchase new books to grace my bookshelves.

My reviewing style is one honed from graduate school. It’s not an educational or school-like voice, but still one chosen to keep “me” out of it. Meaning, the review is focused on the story and the author, not the reviewer, so I never use first person references as the reviewer. If a sentence calls for a “me” voice, I refer to myself as “this reader” and not “I” or “me”. I use critical thinking when reviewing. I try to balance bad comments with good – make sure a positive comment comes before a negative one. I hope my critique is read with the intention it was written in, as an informative and helpful tool for the writer. It is also hoped the writer remembers I am but one solitary reader and may very well be alone in my opinion, but I am very much entitled to that very same opinion.

Most writer’s seem to appreciate my reviews and take them in the spirit they were written. After all, many come back and ask me to review their next offering, as well. However, some of their, hmm, well-meaning, friends choose to attack my review for whatever reason. In the aforementioned review, two such people took great pains to leave comments about my use of “this reader” in the review. No comments about the story. No comments about the creator of the story. Just, my references to “this reader”. Now, how does that help the story’s writer in any way? They wanted to lecture me on, I guess, arrogance, and instead presented their own. While drawing (negative) attention to the written review, which can actually do more harm to the story reviewed than my actual review.

Another kind soul apologized for their behavior. Not necessary but much appreciated. She hoped their mean-spirited comments would not push me away from reviewing. They won’t. I’ll keep reviewing and eventually return back to my own writing. When I am ready.

Until then, I am so outtie….

I write, fiction; or, as Kellyanne Conway might term it, alternative facts

As a four-year-old, my perception of the Cuban Missile Crisis was, “Mommy, the stooopid Prezsieden stopped my cartoons again!” As a teen, I had to learn about the event in my history classes and understood President Kennedy was not only taking a hard line on the Soviet Union building missile bases in Cuba, but that he was working to ensure the safety of American citizens as well as working with the UN. While President Kennedy did not want to wage war with the Soviet Union, he also would not back down from his duty to safe guard the United States as a whole.

Article I, Amendment 1 – Freedom of expression and religion: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (Wednesday, March 4, 1789 – emphasis my own) On January 20, 2017 – inauguration day – six journalists were arrested while reporting on protests against the sitting President’s inauguration. They were doing their job, reporting – see Amendment 1 directly above – and now could face up to ten years in prison. [See article here: http://www.snopes.com/2017/01/25/journalists-arrested-felony-charge/] The sitting President has banned several predominantly Muslim countries entry to the US and stated, “My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.” (January 29, 2017) However, let’s be very clear here. President Obama responded to an actual threat when it was uncovered that two Iraqi refugees had been implicated in bomb-making while still in Iraq, that had targeted American troops. The sitting President issued his executive order with no known triggering threats against Americans. President Obama did not halt or ban visa applications, although the process admittedly slowed considerably. President Obama did not authorize a “blanket ban” on all citizens of Iraq entering America, and from traveling through the United States – including greed-card holders. For those that do not know or understand, a green card is given as proof to legal permanent residency, to those that have officially been granted immigration benefits which includes permission to reside and be employed in the United States. The sitting President signed a “blanket ban” against seven countries – not against known or suspected extremists, but against everyone from those countries, presuming them guilty of terrorism without proof, from entering into America. The sitting President referred to the terroristic attacks on 9/11 as to reasoning behind this ban – yet, the countries not included in this ban are the very ones where the terrorists came from, were trained in, lived in (Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan to name two)… and also, I believe, countries where the sitting President currently owns hotels and has other business ties.

Christians believe in one God and follow the word of the Bible. Muslims believe in one God (Allah in Arabic) and follow the word of the Quran. From History.org, “… Islam, which means literally “submission.” This new faith incorporated aspects of Judaism and Christianity. It respected the holy books of these religions and its great leaders and prophets — Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and others. Muhammad called Abraham “Khalil” (“God’s friend”) and identified him as Islam’s ancient patriarch. Islam traces its heritage through Abraham’s son Ishmael.” (emphasis my own)

Friederich Trump immigrated to America (from Germany) in 1885 and became a citizen  in 1892. Abraham Rutan came to America (from France) in 1675 – a full 210 years before Heir Trump. A Madame Duchesne settled in New Orleans (from France to Canada for many years and then America) in 1823 – over 50 years (62, to be exact) before Heir Trump, while a J.B. Duchesne also settled in New Orleans (also from France/Normandy to Canada and then America) in 1822 – also over 50 years (63, to be exact) before Heir Trump. Duchesne is another spelling of the French surname DuShane. My mother descends from the Rutan line and my father is a DuShane. By all accounts, my familial line has been in America longer than our sitting President’s familial line.

What is my point, you might be wondering…? Well, part of my family was here in America before the Constitution was even written and I happen to take pride in what that Document states. Oh, I’m sure many Americans take pride in the Constitution, I am in no way claiming my pride is stronger simply because part of my familial line arrived in America before it was even penned. I am no historian although I am educated, holding an MA in English; I read, a lot. I write, fiction; or, as Kellyanne Conway might term it, alternative facts. As a concerned citizen, I do not have a problem with our government taking steps to keep us safe – as President’s Kennedy and Obama did. No, not at all! I expect it, no, demand it – they have many whose entire careers concern gathering information and making the data known so the President can make an informed decision. Our Constitution was not founded in fascism, which seems to be the particular bent of the current Administration. Religious freedom and freedom of speech – including the press – are the very first things addressed in the First Amendment, for crying out loud.

What saddens me the most however, is witnessing the blatant bigotry and racism not only still present in this once great nation, but fervently shouted from rooftops. I cry for my country. I am so outtie….

Gotta do it

I am so damn proud of women today! Check out the images on this CNN story from yesterday, the USA Today story from the 21st,  this Snopes story about why protestors signs were left where they were after the march in D.C., the New York Times story about what comes next… I could post link after link after link. There is unity here, people – not just women, mind you – unified in their terror over this new era, unified in their anger over the habitual liar in the most powerful office, unified in their disbelief over claims of “alternative facts” replacing what the lies are – falsehoods and lies!

Dan Rather has posted some extremely powerful things in the last couple of days, like this one and this one, both posted on Occupy Democrats website. He’s calling tRump out, calling him the liar he is, and reminding every single American of our power and that we must hold him accountable! Dan’s the man….

Watch for the lies, people. Don’t let him slide. According to Robert Reich, the GOP will allow this continue while they tear apart the progress our country had made and line their pockets – no matter how many Americans it hurts, before they “pull the plug” on him. I paraphrased the Rawstory article and added my views to what Reich apparently said. It’s gonna be a rough ride.

*sighs* I am so outtie….

Better late than never

First post of the year 2017, only nineteen days into the year. Guess it shows I’ve not been doing much writing, eh? Well, on the up side, I did join the Kindle sponsored Goodreads 2017 book challenge; signed up to complete thirty-five books this year but my private unpublicized goal is fifty! *laughs* I’ve actually already read four books, making me three books ahead of schedule, so fifty shouldn’t be too hard of a goal.

As I’ve always said, if one wishes to improve, one must read, read, read. Now, the added beauty to this is I have also started writing reviews for the books I’ve read, as well. I have three books posted to my domain, Scribes Canvas, plus one movie, and book number four read is reviewed and posted to Amazon and/or Goodreads. I’ll likely be starting another book when I head to bed tonight, too.

I managed to add a tiny bit to the Lynette and Lachlan story, just to flush out the epilogue a bit more, and wrote a couple of paragraph’s in Allison and Robert’s story. So I guess my depression/oppression from the election is coming to an end. I hope. The orange one has the inauguration in one day. Friday. And my television will be off, or on DVD, Netflix, YouTube, or Amazon only. If the Facebook post concerning a free, star studded live streaming concert on YouTube was real, that’s where I’ll be!

Not writing related, but I’ve also managed to get a semblance of order back into the house – specifically the den, since the hot water pipe leak. Wet wall cut away, drywall is patched, dry and sanded, and ready for painting. Since I’ve lived – and smoked – here for almost six years now, it’ll be impossible to match the exact color of the undamaged walls, so I’ve been looking at contrast colors. Think I’ve settled on a shade of purple, actually. But furniture has been rearranged, excluding my LaZ-Boy chair (it’s still sitting in the middle of the living room *grins*) and once the painting is done I’ll be rearranging the wall décor, as well. Diplomas and such will be moved to hang over desk instead of remaining where they are. Also have to plan on replacing the desk chair for my secondary desk as the old one finally bit the dust… in fairness, it was around twenty-two years old! I am hopeful these changes will be conducive to continued creativity, though.

That’s not everything that’s happened in the last nineteen days, but it’s enough for now. So I am so outtie….