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….

privatize

So I’m unsure how to change the privacy setting and make this area for me and not the public eye. Haven’t figured it out yet – other than to simply add more posts to kind of hide the ones that are deeply personal, bury them within babble more or less. One change I did make was for summaries instead of full text be the main view, although as Admin I, of course, still see the full text.

My daughter and eldest grand daughter moved a heavy desk for me; I haven’t really set it up, although the PC is plugged in again. I moved an empty bookcase to its new location, but only managed to clean it and put one item on it. Still need to move all of the books (and old software and DVDs and etc.) to it, but haven’t had the gumption to do so. Only thing I managed to move was my Aero Garden thingy… maybe I’ll check into buying seeds for it again. Eventually. At least it no longer holds layers upon layers of dust any more. That’s something, I suppose.

K, I am so outtie….

the first

During and after the election, I began researching what country it would be possible for me to move to.  now, while I am not a student of history, I do read and am capable of seeing patterns. Naturally, the majority of the countries I might be able to afford a move to and live in, are… well, repressed, fairly poor, and simply not known to love Americans. Expats or not. So I revised my search and found some different but usable alternatives in the country I’ve always loved but have never been able to visit. The search and my findings are all still open on my desktop….

I recently purchased one of those multi-movie DVDs of Paranormal Activity, movies one through five. After catching some sleep – I had been up all night, election night, per my usual routine – I began watching the movies. I understand why audiences were scared and/or creeped out, even though I was only somewhat interested and amused by the creativity. After finishing the movies, I stuck the first Jurassic Park movie in; I’m on the third in the series now. I logged onto Facebook once and saw various friends – and more – sending good-bye announcements, that they were slipping into silent mode as this country enters a new era… I followed suit.

I haven’t had many updates to my blog of late, although my recent typical routine has only been posting once or twice a month. I had been commenting to my daughter that what truly troubled me was my lack of inspiration and creativity, and inability to work on my novels. She had made a worthwhile critique to the Lynette/Lachlan story that I would like to incorporate; but, I need to finish the Allison/Robert story before I get back into the earlier work. I’ve tried to write more of Allison’s story, but it’s like I am straining for ideas, straining to reach my creativity. In an earlier post I had mentioned the disarray my house is currently in, due to a busted water pipe, and I’ve toyed with the idea that that could be the cause of my lack of creativity… well, daughter has done some of the work – enough that I can begin to put things near where they use to be. Or re-arrange, which I’m actually doing. But still no desire to write.

I’m not dreaming anymore, either. At least, I cannot recall any dreams or direct them as I once use to do. Most of my characters introduced themselves to me in my dreams, gave me a chance to get to know them and their stories so that I could write them. Even Phantom of the Opera has not been helping, and that, in my view, is quite bad. However, in the deepest part of my brain, some ideas have been trying to form. Truths.

I don’t want to leave America. Not because I have faith in my country or fellow man, because I don’t. Not anymore. No, for purely selfish reasons… my love of family, the need to be somewhat near them. Moving almost 4000 miles away would make it close to impossible to see my daughter and grand daughters, let alone the hope of ever repairing the damaged relationship with my son. I guess fear would be incorporated into this, as well… starting completely over in a new country at the age of 58, disabled, uncertain if my disability pay would follow… or continue, for that matter. You know, my daughter said it’s “only four years.” A deep, inner fear is that a huge change – for the worse – is in the making now.

I just began crying at the scene where the Navy and Marines arrive to rescue Dr. Grant’s party. I’m crying easier now and that’s not necessarily a good thing. All the lawsuits and criminal charges against Trump – will they just “go away” now that he’s the President elect? The sheep have spoken, the crazies run the asylum; I am so outtie….

Voting in America

While out and about earlier today I overheard a few troubling conversations about the upcoming Presidential election. People said they weren’t going to bother to vote because they didn’t like either official. Like they were limited to vote for either Hillary or Trump and neither fit their personal choice.

Do they no longer instruct students in Civics classes – for the younger people I heard today – that Americans have yet another choice, the “write-in candidate”? Are the older people too addle brained to recall that our country is one of the few that allows this practice? Can none of them recall many years ago when the country was split and people were not pleased with the Presidential choices, so many chose to write-in their candidate, Bozo the Clown???? The Democratic Party didn’t like the Republican choice, former President Ronald Reagan, while many Democrat’s and Republicans alike didn’t like Walter Mondale. The year was 1984 and Bozo the Clown did receive many votes… obviously not enough to become the President having only gotten around 0.02 percent of the vote…. But still, this Toledo born entertainer did toss his hat into the ring.

Each State has its own rules and regulations as to how a candidate may be written in and your vote counted. Here, in Georgia, you need to check here to see who the available candidates are. Unfortunately for me, the candidate I wanted to write in, is not available… *sighs* I’ll still vote, though. If one does not vote, then one does not have the right to complain or gripe over the candidate that does win. After all, that vote one chose to not cast, might have been the one vote to make a difference. Vote, people. It’s your right and duty.

I am so outtie….

Arghh 2.0

So, I’ve watched a shit load of TV. Arrow, the Glitch, the Flash, Black Mirror, and a couple of movies on Netflix, as well as a few – that I ended up writing reviews for, too – on Amazon Prime. Only nine more days till this years NaNoWriMo begins and I haven’t been writing, again.

I don’t know why, either. Told my daughter, I’ve just been feeling ‘blah’. Again, don’t know why. But, I can say it began when I was re-watching Sons of Anarchy. It hit me around season five, I think, and I felt it take my head into a real dark place… which I mentioned in a much earlier post. I thought I had gotten past it, began reading again. *sighs* One error filled book after another, all author requested reads after another which frustrated the holy hell out of me and ended up putting me off of reading even more. And as you know, in order to keep up with your craft, you need to read, read, read and read more.

I’m not dreaming, either. I usually have very clear, colorful lucid dreams. Honestly, it’s where I meet my characters and learn more about them. I suppose I could be dreaming and not remembering them, but I actually don’t think so. I feel tight, congested… like there is a total blockage in my creativity line cause I’m just not feeling a thing. And it shows in my every day life as well as ways to release my creativity. I know the ‘juices’ haven’t dried up. They just aren’t flowing.

I don’t know what to do.

I’m so outtie….

dammit

Gotta get back to writing but some bad luck issues are draining me. Literally. So, I got this huge power bill, been running AC so its kind of expected, right? But, I didn’t own anything in August – maybe a buck or two cause I typically overpay, so didn’t bother to make any kind of payment then. Figured I’d wait to start building credit with the company until winter usage… well, apparently they didn’t email me my actual August bill, cause last month I was hit with over $300! Way higher than typical for me, during my heaviest usage summer months my biggest bill is still less than $200 by a good degree… so that was issue number one, had to put a $300 charge on a credit card I’ve been working to pay down. My girls need their Sentinel, which will be roughly a $125 charge for three months of meds for them… *sighs* Expected, but still.

So, yesterday (actually this was Thursday) I wake up late again, as usual lately, and head into the den all blurry eyed, ready for my caffeine IV and email… and I see what looks like a dribble-pee spot in front of the door. I turn the lights on and then it hits me, I can also hear a distinctive drip-drip-drip sound… and water is steadily dripping from my ceiling. The corner of the ceiling is hanging lower, water is pouring down my door, and the wall has two huge wrinkly sections. Sight unseen, I diagnose problems with my hot water tank, which is housed in my attic. Poor Stevie is living her worst nightmare, it’s raining in the house! I put in a “911” call to Dingy, cause she’s my ‘go-to-gal’ for any issues, and they plan to head my way. I turned the lights off, to be safe – the ceiling fan-light is in the middle of the room and it doesn’t look like the ceiling is wet all the way to it, but better safe than sorry, right?

Went outside front door – den door is like sealed shut – to go grab mail and see it’s like raining cats and dogs – under my carport. So that’s where the majority of the water is escaping. My driveway is soaked, too, like after a typical Georgia thirty to sixty minute torrential downpour. Bought a wet/dry vac and repair stuff, plus put $15 in the kids gas tank, so the repair cost me a hair under $100. Have the attic stair down still so attic can finish drying – which worries/concerns both dogs. Last night I finally realized the reason the fan was so freakin’ loud was because it was set on high, so turned it down and I can hear myself think again. Although honestly, I’ve been freezing because the fan blowing on the wet wall and floor has created a swamp-cooler and is keeping my house under 70 degrees. I keep it at 75, winter and summer, so yeah, I’ve been freezing. Girls love it. *laughs*

Before anyone points out the repair for under $100 is actually quite good, however… I still haven’t replaced the messed up section on the ceiling or the drywall on the walls or purchased paint to repaint the messed up walls and ceiling, yet.

My DVD towers are on the opposite side of the room while my La-z-boy chair and bookcase are in my living room. The girls are very upset by this, although Luna is being her usual stoic self albeit a tad needier wanting to climb up into my lap when I sit down at my desktop PC. Stevie is refusing to walk by the attic ladder and off her food; she also went into my bedroom yesterday and hopped up on the bed – and acted too afraid to jump back off herself. She was ‘stuck’ in there for like six hours! The dork. Add to all this and I’m having a few issues with the bank controlling two of my accounts… for the Amazon account, they say any amount I pay before the due date will not be applied to the amount due, yet hadn’t told me when my due date was… I made a payment and they later sent me an email that I owed a $5 payment – by this time, my disability check was used up, so they added a $35 late fee and some other unexplained $11  fee saying I owed them $51 to catch up!

So yeah. No writing right now. I’m fucking depressed. I’m so outtie….

the power of the phantom

Okay, then. Have been playing Phantom of the Opera over and over again, getting myself not only into a more romantic mood, but also helping me better channel Robert’s voice. Hopefully it worked.

I finished chapter nine and got the first scene of chapter ten completed, a confrontation between Robert and Kara/Allison’s parents, Jake and Marie. Allison now knows about her biological parents, but hasn’t fully accepted it, yet. Robert is also showing his interest in Alli – only to be interrupted by jealous Kara! Hence, the confrontation…. I also grabbed the Scrivener backup from the laptop that’s been acting up, which is the main PC I use for writing, mind you… so I did the bit of writing mentioned, here, on my desktop. Only way I could watch the PotO, any-hoo, since I currently only have the blueray disc and only the player in my den is blueray.

Just wanted to touch base, more or less, since I had that huge blogging gap. *grins sheepishly* It’s after 3a.m. and we’re at the final part of the movie, it’ll end in about five minutes. The time part is no biggie, but I’m done writing for now cause my right hand is acting up. Yeah, even using a keyboard instead of pen and paper can make it flare up and cause havoc. So I’ma gonna finish this post and the movie, then head back to my room to attempt reading. Hopefully, whatever new writer I start tonight, will not sour me again like the last several did… as long as they attempt to edit! Grr.

M’kay, I am so outtie….