I Miss You, Starsky! Love Ya, Buddy!

I just realized it’s been exactly twelve years since the last time I saw my Best Friend in person. And it’s almost eleven years since she died. That gaping maw is still there; it will never leave.

The two books published in my Deuces Wild series are both dedicated to her. All books in that series will be:

Deuces Wild is dedicated to the memory of my best friend; my inspiration for an enduring friendship…

Good-bye, Starsky



I Owe My Mother for the Love of Books

The title says it all. From my earliest memories, I remember sitting in my mother’s lap while she read to me. Some were Little Golden Books and Wonder Books (my favorite was the BingityBangity School Bus) and others things like Grimm’s Fairy Tales (favorite: Town Musicians of Bremen).

Don’t underestimate the power of reading to your children. They don’t need all the TV and electronics, they need someone to read to them, to open their minds to the wonder and power of words.

I thanked her while she was alive for giving me a love of reading, but I reiterate it: Thank you, Mama!




Not Officially Here

True story – happened to my husband some years ago.

The company my husband worked for was building a new plant across the lot from the old one.

My husband called the company’s main office and told Office Worker #1 (OW1 for short from now on) that she needed to call the phone company (PC for short) to make arrangements for the new phone line (he didn’t have the authorization – had to come from the main office).

OW1 said, “I’m on it!”

A month later, he found out she didn’t call, and after being reminded, finally did. A week later the PC guy came out and asked where’s the service that needs fixing. My husband said we don’t need it fixed, we need new service.

Guys said not my department and left.

My husband called OW1. She said not my department, you need Office Worker #2 (OW2 from now on, and also sitting at desk next to OW1.).

He talked to OW2, who called the PC.

A week later, two guys from the PC arrived in a fancy car and wearing suits. They’re engineers.

My husband asked them how long till the line is run. They said they couldn’t tell him because they’re not officially there. They can’t be there officially until the order for service has gone through, and it hasn’t gone through yet. So they’re not really there. But once the order goes through, then they can put in the details for work, so they can’t tell him when anyone will be there, because they’re not officially there.

The two suits wanted to know if he wanted the service run inside the plant. He said, “Well, most people do, don’t they? I don’t think it would do my computer much good to be outside, do you?”

So they asked if he wanted one line or two, and did he want the T1 line. He said, “I just told you I needed it for the computer. What do you think?”

They kept asking stupid questions and not listening to my husband’s answers, so finally he said, “I’m not officially here,” and walked away.

(The electricians heard all this and were trying not to laugh out loud—they said they wouldn’t have believed this if they hadn’t heard it themselves.)

So finally (not sure of the time frame here), OW2 from the main office called to set up the actual service order.

The woman from the PC asked if OW2 wanted it run inside the building. OW2 said yes—to the office on the second floor.

OW2 was then told that the PC doesn’t run lines to the second floor. They only do first floors. Did they want the line in the building? If so, they’ll run the line downstairs, but can put phone jacks upstairs.

OW2 said, “Wait, you’ll put phone jacks upstairs but won’t run the lines upstairs?”

“Yes, because we don’t do second floors. We can subcontract someone to do that if you want though.”

So OW2 asked when could they be there to install the service.

They didn’t know because their men haven’t officially been there yet to give a report. But when their men have officially been there and given a report then they can say.

So OW2 asked, “When will they be here?”

“Well, maybe this week, but if we’re not there by 4:30 Friday then it won’t be this week, it could be next week, but if you don’t see us next week then we won’t be there next week, it might be the week after that.”

And then OW2 found out, that’s just to run the line!

Once the line is installed in the ground, OW2 will have to call and place another order for a different crew to come out and install it inside the building. To the first floor only.

“When will they be out?” OW2 asked.

“Well, we won’t know till the line is installed, but probably a week or two after that, but if you don’t see them that week, then the week after.”

Fast forward…

The day came when the new plant was supposed to become “operational” and the owner came over to see the grand, modern structure.

He was talking on his cell phone to the main office, and they said they couldn’t get a hold of my husband. His phone was busy.

My husband was standing right there. He pulled his cell off the clip on his belt and said, “It’s right here, I’ve been outside working, and this thing hasn’t rung all day!” (They’d had to use his cell for a month or more to conduct all business at his plant because the phone lines weren’t installed yet.)

So my husband called the main office to ask OW1 what the ticket # is for the first order they’ll sending out tomorrow so he can load trucks. (He has to coordinate the ticket #’s with the orders.)

OW1 said, “Hook up your computer and you can see what the number is.”

My husband replied, “How can I? I don’t have a phone line.”

“Yes you do—it’s all hooked up.”

My husband said, “I don’t think so. There’s no jacks, and I’m looking out the window at the pole in the middle of the yard. There are two lines dangling from it. They’re the phone lines.”

“No, you have phone lines all hooked up. Just hook your computer up to them.”

“No. They aren’t installed yet. I have no phone lines.”

So OW1 said, “Well you’d better talk to OW2, this is her department.”

(transferred call to other desk) OW2 said, “You have a phone line.”

My husband said, “No, I don’t.”

“Yes, you do.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Yes, you do.”

“Look, I just need the ticket number to start tomorrow.”

“Well, that’s OW1’s dept, I’ll give you to her.”

(transferred call to other desk) “OW1, what’s the ticket number?”

OW1 gave it to him, then said, “I think that’s right, but if you just hook up your computer, you can get the right number.”

“No, I can’t hook up my computer—I don’t have a phone line.”

“Yes, you do! We’ve been calling you on it all day and it’s been busy! You’ve been on the phone all day!”

“Okay, fine, have it your way. I have a phone line. I’ll leave my cell phone home tomorrow then. Bye!”

= = =

No, I don’t have the rest of the story. I do apologize. Did he leave his cell home? Did his boss see the dangling wires on the pole and do something about the lack of phone lines hooked up? I don’t know. My husband probably told me, but I cannot remember. I only know the events above because as he started to tell me the story, I said, “Wait, I have to write this down—it’s too good!”

(At least my books have endings though, enh?)


Books in My Living Room – a video

I decided to video the small collection of books I’m currently reading/re-reading in my living room. Since it cannot be uploaded here (something about the format being Very Bad *shrug*), I uploaded it to FB.

So here you go, if you’re one of the three people or so interested in what I might have stacked currently to read.


World Con and Jon Del Arroz

I discussed my own feelings about some of the Big Cons in my last post, so I won’t reiterate them here. At the end, I gave a link to an article which gave specific information about an author who has been banned from WorldCon.

I’m adding the link again in case you missed it: Conservative Hispanic Writer Jon Del Arroz Banned from Worldcon Sci-Fi Convention

And a second link to a post by Vox Day: Three authors weigh in on Worldcon

Okay, now that you’ve read those, I’ll weigh in on a personal level:

First, not that WorldCon would give a flying flip in the wind, but I’d never attend with the toffee-nosed prats in charge who are more concerned with banning those with whom they disagree and find offensive, yet do not ban pedos, and further, dismiss and denigrate those who have been the victims of pedos.

Second, some find Jon an irritant (although he has nothing on Harry Mudd), but I’ll tell you what he is from my own experience: a good writer, and more importantly one who gives back. He didn’t know me, but graciously consented to read my book, even though, being an Indie, I’m Not a Real Writer™.

To my delight, he liked it and agreed to endorse it.  (I know! I know! How dare he validate me as a writer!*)

So, that’s the kind of man he is. A bit ornery, sure (but hey, we need a little spice now and again, don’t we?), but a nice guy. I am honored to know him.



* He’s not the only one, but I shall not namedrop in this post!


When You Feel Disowned By Your Own

I’m not usually negative or political (or long-winded) when it comes to my blog, or author page, but the reality of the SF/F world is getting more and more exclusive under the delusion of being inclusive.

Let me start at the beginning, so you’ll understand what makes this so difficult for me:

I can remember as a kid never fitting in. In school, I was made fun of, and bullied to the point of coming home muddied, bloodied, glasses broken, so finally my mother enrolled me in karate. Even with the physical batterings gotten rid of (Tang Soo!), the name-calling and being mocked didn’t stop (they just kept their distance, and unfortunately, there’s no block in karate to stop a foul mouth).

And besides being “different” (who knew what Asperger’s was back then?), I loved “weird” things, and by high school the name-calling took on really making fun of those things, like Star Trek. I spent my whole day on guard, braced for attack, feeling like I had to be ready to fight. Any mention of Star Trek (except among my close friends) was derogatory.

Then I went to my first convention. The first time I heard “Star Trek” and “Spock” just inside the door, automatically I went into “fight or flight.” Then I realized – I wasn’t being targeted or made fun of, but these people loved what I did! I felt a sense of belonging even though I knew no one. We grokked! The Vulcan salute was given and returned, often with “Live long and prosper” as well. I didn’t need to watch my back. These were My People; I had found a place where I could let down my guard and just be me. I could actually relax, breathe, smile, and feel safe.

I still feel that same sense of belonging and fun at local cons (I have raised my hands when seeing cosplayers go by my table and called out “I have found my people!”), but I have a feeling I wouldn’t find that at most of the Big Cons, for example, WorldCon.

It isn’t about loving science fiction and fantasy; it isn’t about finding others who enjoy your fandoms and getting excited talking about your favorite book, movie, or TV show, or whether there’s going to be a sequel, and did she release her newest book yet? Oh my gosh, did you hear, she killed off Character A! Hey, did you read the fanfic about that series? Oh, look at that cosplayer, what a fantastic outfit! Did you see the fanfic webseries about that old show – it’s so well done! Aaaah, Spock is talking to the Doctor and the Hero of Canton, the man we call Jayne!

I don’t think I’d feel that same acceptance and exuberance at the Big Cons. I don’t fit in with their message of “striving to be inclusive of fandom,” which is only inclusive if you agree with them or if you write stories which fit their narrative.

Haven’t those now running these Big Cons understood that stories like 1984, Animal Farm, and “Minority Report” are cautionary, not instruction manuals?

Oh, and let’s not forget, even if I wrote the kind of stories that fit their “message fiction” agenda, because I’m Indie, I’m “not a real writer” and would be shunned anyway. Because, you know, inclusive.


= = =

In case you don’t know what’s going on, or what I’m talking about, “Banned from Hugo” By Moira Greyland Peat explains it very well.

When we pulled into Worldcon in need of R&R
The puppies, Sad and Rabid camped in every joint and bar
We had Trufan expectations of their hospitality
But found too late it wasn’t geared for Puppies such as we

And we’re Banned from Hugo, everyone
Banned from Hugo just for having that Wrongfun
We spent a jolly Worldcon there for just three days or four
But Hugo doesn’t want us anymore…

Our Captain’s tastes were simple and his stories were complex
We found he’d sold five manuscripts and pocketed large checks
The Thought Police were on the way—he had no second chance
His heroine was fair and blonde, and had a straight romance!

And we’re Banned from Hugo, everyone
Banned from Hugo just for having that Wrongfun
We spent a jolly Worldcon there for just three days or four
But Hugo doesn’t want us anymore…

Our Engineer would yield to none at writing Rabid tales
He wrote them for Castalia House and made a ton of sales
His favorite story didn’t win, but it got the votes of all
And now he’s got his No Award on the mantle of his hall!

Our proper, cool new Editor wrote something of her own
And when the draft was finished she was scared to have it shown
Her characters were thoughtful, worse, they acted morally
And Right and Wrong meant only that, and the good guys saved the day!

Our authors are the finest and our bloggers are our pride
And when Dave Truesdale led a panel, tempers quickly fried
We’re sorry that the truth he told was just too strong for you
The SJWs kicked him out and loudly cried boo hoo!

When Truesdale took the mic, he said some things that were no fun
The audience was rude indeed, and told him he was done!
The Emperor has no clothes, he said, the Hugos are a jest
Political correctness has become the litmus test!

And now, just one year later, they have banned Jon Del Arroz
Because he’ll bring a camera, and Wrongthink clouds his prose
#FreeJDA is what we say to the haters at that zoo
But DragonCon will be more fun for fans like me and you!

(Thank you, Moira, for allowing me to reprint this.)

Moira’s story, growing up as the daughter of a famous SF writer, can be read in her book, The Last Closet. I highly recommended it, but be aware, it’s not fun, lighthearted read.

**And for the latest news, this popped up as I was writing this post, so I’m going to put it here for further reading, should you be interested:

Conservative Hispanic Writer Jon Del Arroz Banned from Worldcon Sci-Fi Convention