Friday, January 20, 2017
Special Operations 7
AVAILABLE: Thursday, January 26th
[Siren Publishing: The Stormy Glenn ManLove Collection: M/M, HEA]
Frankie Di Salvo thought he had died and gone to heaven the day Porter Reece walked into his life. The man was everything Frankie had always dreamed of. But more than that, Porter's friendly personality and protectiveness drew Frankie in like an eager puppy. He was willing to agree to anything to keep Porter.
Porter Reece had been looking for one good thing in his life, and he found it in a gorgeous man named Frankie. The times he was able to spend with Frankie between missions were the only things that kept him going when life got hard.
When Frankie's life gets put in danger, Porter does the only thing he can think of and takes him back to the compound, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that his fellow marines and friends will help him protect Frankie. But the danger his precious love is in isn't just coming from an outside source. There are those at the compound that want Frankie gone as well.
Can Porter convince them that Frankie is innocent before it's too late?
And even if he does, will Frankie still be around for him to love?
Dark Court 1
AVAILABLE: Thursday, February 2nd
[Erotic Alternative Fantasy Paranormal Romance, M/M, HEA]
Nothing in Zack Banning’s life makes sense. Not the head injury that ended his career, and certainly not the sexy dreams he’s been having about a mysterious blue-eyed stranger who seems to know exactly how to send Zack straight into the flames of ecstasy with every touch. Zack can’t decide what disturbs him more—how much he longs for the dreams to be real or the fact that they feature another man.
Eljin has spent the last several months frightened and alone. The single bright spot was the tentative connection he forged with Zack, a fellow captive with no memory of their encounter. Desperate to return across the veil but unwilling to leave Zack in danger, Eljin sets out to convince Zack of the miracle that holds them together before the forces conspiring against Eljin’s entire race pull them apart forever.
Blaecleah Brothers 1
[Siren Classic ManLove: Erotic Alternative Cowboy Romance, M/M]
Lachlan Blaecleah never expected to find the love of his life in the middle of a street fight with two other men, but he knew the moment he saw Asa Miller that he wanted to get to know the man better. He jumps into the fight and becomes Asa's knight in slightly tarnished armor.
Asa Miller is amazed by Lachlan every time he looks at him. He's a walking, talking cowboy fantasy come to life, complete with hat and boots. After being rescued by him and taken home for a night of debauchery at the hands of the sexy cowboy, Asa isn't sure what to do next. Should he stick around and get to know Lachlan and his large family better or run from the feelings the man invokes in him?
Before Asa can make his choice, someone else steps in to separate the two men, on a more permanent basis. Asa has to decide if what they have together is worth the heartache he feels when he almost loses the man he loves. Or should he guard his heart and lose his cowboy forever?
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Are we there yet?
Those aren’t my beloved’s exact words, but they might as well be. After today, he has 307 days to go until he is retired. They’re still finishing up repairs and yard clean-up at the quarry where he works. It’s all part of getting ready for when the bulk of the crew returns and they can fire up the rock crushers for a new season of turning large limestone slabs into various sizes of gravel. When that happens, David will be back in his truck full time, driving from point A where his giant vehicle gets filled with the crushed stone, to point B where the product is stored in a pile on the floor of the quarry.
Until that time, he is doing whatever needs done—and it’s a more physical process than he’s used to. Many nights he comes home so spent he goes straight to bed for an hour before supper, just to recharge his batteries.
I feel for him. I’m not as young as I used to be, either. Each day I learn this anew as I set an aggressive agenda for myself—and then realize my to-do list was a bit too optimistic. Friends, getting older is not for wussies.
I tried to encourage him, when he took over driving the big truck, making his job more sedentary for him, to exercise and keep his stamina where it had been when he first climbed into that truck. After all, we don’t truly understand the meaning of the phrase “use it or lose it” until we’re over fifty. I’d like to tell you he heeded my words of wisdom—but I can’t. No, he gave in to the joy of not having to bust his butt, and simply reveled in the inactivity. The result of this, of course, is that when he has no choice but to be more active, it takes a lot more out of him than it should. Certainly, it takes more than it would have if he’d kept moving.
The other result of his lack of physical activity is that he’s gained a fair bit of weight over the last few years. That doesn’t bother me, image wise. I don’t tend to look at a person based on their physical appearance. But the added pounds are not good for a man whose body had always supported a very modest weight, a man who also suffers from COPD. I haven’t criticized, and was very happy when he announced over the Christmas holidays that he really wanted to lose weight and would, come the new year.
I’m doing my part to see that his goal is achieved. He needs to do his part by resisting the urge of the extra snacks. He knows this, of course. It really is all in his hands.
I take after my parents who were both overweight. I’ve been heavy all my life. Losing weight for me isn’t an easy process anymore and really never was. I have my own health issues, including hypothyroidism, diabetes and heart disease. I also have severe arthritis, in my ankles, knees, hips, and lower back. I had resumed going to the pool, determined to get back to where I had been before my gallbladder rebelled and interfered with my ability to go swimming.
Unfortunately, my reward for several months of increased activity was such a bad flare up of my arthritis that I could barely walk and really couldn’t even climb stairs without the aid of my hands—on the steps above me. The flare up and acute pain have eased off, but my new normal is a lot less active and a lot more painful than it had been. All I can do now is keep moving. I still wear my step counter, and I refuse to just sit still when it hurts like hell to move. I understand that to stay sitting on bad days will limit my abilities even more. As I’ve already said, getting older is not for wussies.
My beloved was thrilled when, just before Christmas, he got a letter from the government about his OAS – Old Age Security. It’s a stipend outside of the Canada Pension Plan that we receive up here, once we’ve turned 65. The letter confirmed his first check will arrived the month after he achieves that landmark birthday.
As for the rest of his future retirement income – his CPP and his company pension - he’ll have to make arrangements for those. He will, from time to time, mention this thing we have to do, or that thing, to prepare for his happy event of retirement. My only input here is that I’ve told him he needs to make a list of what has to happen, and any questions he has.
I don’t believe I’m being anything but fair when I tell him, like his eating habits, that’s in his hands, too.
If you’d like to see a picture of my beloved and his beloved truck, you can see it at my WW blog: http://wednesdayswordsbymorgan.blogspot.ca/2017/01/january-18-2017-are-we-there-yet-those.html or you can go to my website and view my “journal”.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Over the last several weeks, I’ve been learning of some disturbing stories from people from all walks of life who’ve been attacked verbally, and a few who’ve actually been physically assaulted. These cases are many, and they are real, and I’ll even bet that most of you know someone who has been targeted (I refuse to say victimized) by the outrageous and unconscionable actions of those who can only be called thugs and bullies. These bad seeds appear to be pervasive, showing up unexpectedly, striking out at will, because now they feel entitled to do so—they’ve been given permission.
Yes, we seem to suddenly find ourselves in a time when people will do despicable things because they believe that truth, honesty, and integrity no longer matter, or worse, that those principles no longer have a place in modern life. It is up to all of us, and up to each of us, to stand for what is right. There are some people among us who look around at how being a pathological liar, a cheater, and a hate-filled bully has so recently been publicly rewarded, and have decided that if one person can get away with it in such an open, spotlighted way, then they can, too. As I said, they’ve been given permission.
This is a danger that is so elemental, so prevalent, that it truly can touch us all. We need to stand firm and stand ready to call out those who would abuse the rights of others, those who would practice their bullying openly on the unsuspecting, and those who would blatantly lie. This danger is real and it is serious, and it is urgent.
Words matter, my friends. The words we say, matter. They have power, more power than you can even imagine. You know the positive side of this truth. If we have words of encouragement and kindness for those who are struggling or suffering, our words lift their spirits and fill their hearts with love, and hope. I have seen this reality play out time and again in my years on this planet, and in my experience as an essayist. Many of you have written to me to tell me how my words have helped you, uplifted you, or encouraged you. The flip side of that coin, however, is just as true.
If our words are ugly, then they carry an ugly air to them, staining the atmosphere with such an ugliness that sinks into every nook and cranny of our lives and will thus eat away at the fabric of all that is decent. If our words are lies, again, those lies fill the atmosphere with an unreality that like a constant drip of caustic acid will burn away all that is true.
We will be left with a world filled with distrust and hate, teeming with untruths, and where nothing will be sacred—not our faith or our ideals, not our laws, not our most cherished historical documents, not even our lives.
We can no longer sit back and let things happen around us, trusting that saner minds and kinder spirits will eventually prevail. We are the saner minded and the kinder spirited. We must do all we can to ensure that our personal parts of this world—as in, everywhere we go and everyone we meet—is treated with kindness and respect. And when we see this bullying, this harassment, this blatant lying, we must stand up to it. We must use our sanity and our kindness to rebuke this unacceptable behavior. We must call out the liars among us every time they lie, no matter what office on earth they sit in.
I have often, in various of these essays over the course of the last ten years given examples of how one person taking action can make a difference. If I am kinder, saner, and stand up to the bullies and liars, and you do the same, and others reading these words do likewise, and all of us get others to do so as well? That, my friends, is an army. The future truly is ours to mould. What happens next really is up to us all. I reject the concept that we are all nothing but tiny little mice with no voice, no power, no hope. That we have no choice but to submit to the whims of the power-hungry and money-grubbers of this world.
We are mighty. We are powerful.
We are the hope of our future generations.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Happy New Year! Did you celebrate with friends and family Saturday night? Did you party hearty?
We’ve gone to a few New Year’s Eve gatherings in our time, but for the most part, we’ve stayed home—as we did again this year. Although in the past we’ve sometimes gone to bed before the grand moment, this past Saturday night we stayed up. Our celebration was simple—we turned on the television in time to watch the ball drop in Times Square. Enjoying the quiet and the ambiance of vacation time, we were both into reading our individual selections from our TBR piles. So, we turned on the television at about twenty minutes to midnight, watched the silliness for a bit, participated in the countdown as we watched the ball drop, wished each other a happy new year…and went back to our reading.
Though my husband and I don’t indulge much in the end-of-year celebrations ourselves, I can say that, collectively, we humans get more excited about the beginning of a new year than we do about any other national or international occasion. It certainly is a curious thing, to see all those people wearing funny hats, waving banners and flags and noisemakers, to see the joy, and the hope. And, of course, we mustn’t forget the kissing. There’s always a lot of kissing.
I believe we tend to make a big deal out of ringing in the New Year, because no matter who we are or where we live or what our circumstances, we all crave two things: to get rid of all the crap that happened in the previous twelve months, and to earnestly seek out a brand spanking new beginning. It’s as if, when we toss the old calendar into the trash, we’re saying, “everything is new again!”
What a testament to the basic optimism of the human spirit!
The last few months have been filled with uncertainty and peppered with small tragedies. There have been wars, and rumors of wars. New phrases have entered the lexicon, the most unfortunate of which, in my mind, is “false news”. We find ourselves in the position of facing the prospect of having to wage anew the battles for human rights that we fought in decades’ past. Many of us are filled with uncertainty for the future.
And yet, millions of people gathered in town squares across the globe, and millions more who couldn’t gather in person, tuned in via their televisions or their computers or even their smartphones, to herald in, with great pomp, the arrival of 2017.
The New Year is a clean slate, ready for you to write upon it. What will you choose to do with it? As you may recall from past essays, I don’t really indulge in “New Year’s resolutions”. They are easily made and even more easily broken. Instead, I like to think of what, in general, I would like to accomplish.
At the top of that list is always a prayer to God, that He helps me to become a better person, in every area of my life. I am a work in progress. I have mountain-top moments and then great swallowing valley ones. In other words, I’m like most everyone else. I want to be a kinder me, as there are enough times when I’m not to prick my conscience. As I said, a work in progress, with lots of room for improvement.
This is also a notable year for our family as my beloved begins his last year in the work-a-day world. In the note he left me yesterday, (he usually leaves one for me to find on work-day mornings) he announced that he had 323 days left as an employee of the company. In recent years, he’s lost the love he always had for his job, a fact that in my heart and mind is a tragedy. But his words yesterday were optimistic. He wrote, and I quote, “I hope they are good days and I’m going to try and enjoy them. You enjoy them, too.”
Sound advice from my beloved that I plan to follow, and I am happy to share it with you.
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Was your Christmas wonderful? Was it the best one, ever? I’ve found that the way to make each holiday the best it can be, is to believe it is the best one, ever. Attitude is everything, and an attitude of gratitude and positivity will bring you the most blessings in life. With everything in me, I believe this, one hundred percent. I believe that in the future, it will be discovered that some of that 90 percent or more of our brains that we don’t currently use, can indeed perform miraculous feats of healing, and create a copious amount of happiness if we just believe it’s so, and are open to learning how to use it.
Why not try positive thinking, and telling yourself not only how lucky you are, but how grateful you are for all the blessings in your life? Please, don’t tell me that you’ve struggled, and can’t be grateful because life is hard. My friend, we all struggle, and life is hard for all of us. There have been many times in the past when I didn’t know how we were going to make it to pay day; many times, when we didn’t have much of a pay day to look forward to in the first place. We’ve all lost something or someone. I’ve lost 2 homes to fire, an eight-day old granddaughter, and my middle child. Yet I have been blessed in this life and I’m grateful for all I’ve been given. Simply try it, believe it, and see what happens inside your heart.
It’s that time of the season for the “best of” lists for the year that’s about to end. It can be useful to take a bit of time and look back on the year—the good, the bad, the ugly that happened in the world at large. It can be very useful to make note of the lessons you learned, the wonders you saw, and maybe learn from the inevitable mistakes you made. I keep trying to do that last one, learn from those mistakes. I think I’m getting a bit better at it, because either the mistakes really are fewer lately—or I simply don’t notice them anymore when they happen.
I really hope it’s the former and not the latter.
We spent a quiet Christmas Day here, with just David’s sister joining us for supper. She lives about forty minutes away, and has been spending Christmas Day with us the last couple of years. She and I have always enjoyed a fairly close relationship. Her son and his family, lately, have gone to his wife’s parents on the 25th, and we’re always glad to welcome her here.
We enjoyed our annual Boxing Day brunch at my brother’s on Monday, with all his family there. Later today we’ll head on over to our daughter’s house on the other side of town for another Christmas get-together. This time it’s with the girls and their families. We see them all on a fairly regular basis. Considering we all live in the same small town, that’s as it should be. But we really enjoy the special occasions together. Sonja loves what she calls “family dinner”. I for one will appreciate this gathering, because although I will be taking my meal contributions—sweet potatoes, and my Christmas Pudding—I don’t have to worry about waiting on people or doing the dishes. Then, tomorrow, it’s off to the next town, and lunch with our oldest son and his crew.
It’s now been more than a year since my gallbladder surgery, and my ability to enjoy food, while not completely back to how it had been prior to those problems starting up, is better than it had been for a few Christmases. I don’t generally eat a great deal at any time, but it’s nice to enjoy a few special dishes—like warm crab dip, smoked oysters, and roast goose (not all at the same meal). Christmas pudding, as well, is a very special treat, but I’m quite happy with a small sample of that. I tend to prefer the savory over the sweet.
The holidays for me, more than anything, signify family and tradition. It’s seeing those ornaments on your tree that you remember your mother hanging; it’s knowing your daughter is putting a huge orange in the toe of her grandbabies stockings, just as my daddy did with mine; it’s visiting with loved ones, and sharing special moments. I look forward to giving, and I really don’t care if I get any gifts in return—because what I do get, without fail, is better than any thing wrapped in paper.
I get a sense of legacy, a sense of harmony, and a feeling of joy when the eyes of the children are filled with magic and wonder. I think we could all do with a little more magic and wonder in our lives. Don’t you?
May the coming New Year be all you wish it can be—prosperous and filled with love, laughter and happiness.
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
The Christmas holidays in the Ashbury household have officially begun. This year, when we were expecting my husband to have more time off than in recent seasons past, he ended up having less—just two weeks instead of the three he has had the last couple of years. He finished up his work for 2016 last Friday. The first thing he did when he got home was turn off the alarm on his cell phone.
One significant difference between this year and last, aside from his time off being a week shorter, is the change he made very early this past January, when he moved his computer out of my office, and into a corner of the living room. So already, we’re beginning this two-week period with less stress between us than last time. Even more interesting is that a few months ago, he began looking forward to what it was he’d be doing to occupy his time when he retires. Next year this time, he will have been retired for about a month.
His original plan had been to find a piece of old farm equipment, and restore it. This would require a fair bit of physical activity on his part, beginning with constructing a garage to do the work in. About a year or so ago, he officially scrapped that idea. Although his COPD isn’t progressing rapidly, it is a constant for him, and it’s a disease that will never get better. He decided that while he will do his best to remain as physically active as possible, he needed a more sedentary activity to help the days pass.
I didn’t have to warn him that he couldn’t just quit work after more than 40 years and just do nothing; this was something he already knew. There have been people we’ve known or known of in our lifetimes, who did just that—spent their time becoming professional couch potatoes—and died within a year of retirement. He knew he had to have a reason to get up every day. I wasn’t the least bit surprised when he told me he’d found the perfect thing for him to do: he’s going to write novels.
He has already written one novel—a challenge he accepted, from me, back in the day when I was hoping to some day be published. He was so full of “helpful advice” on how I could improve my writing “process”, I suggested that since he was an expert, he should write his own book, which he did.
Now, he would be the first to tell you it wasn’t very good. But it had a beginning, a middle, and an end, and a plot that unfolded in a logical manner. That’s pretty basic, and if you can do that, you can in all likelihood write a passable book. Some talent is necessary, but mostly, it’s craft. He’s not undertaking this activity to make money, just to keep busy. If things in the self-publishing world don’t change within the next couple of years, that’s what he’ll do with his finished novel.
He isn’t going to write romance, which I am certain is good news to those of us who do. Instead, he’s of a mind to write dystopian stories, as those are the ones he likes to read that most fire his imagination. He has a couple of different scenarios in mind, and so far, is enjoying himself, outlining plot points.
He’s already started on his first novel, because once that idea creeps into your mind, you can’t always put it off. It needs to be written out—and since my husband decided to write it out (the old-fashioned way using pen and paper), he’s already filled a couple of notebooks. I’ve promised that I’ll help him where I can. End of civilization stories aren’t really in my wheelhouse, as I’ve only ever read one series that had that kind of theme. But that doesn’t mean I can’t edit it for him, when he decides it’s ready to head to the book-sellers. While I would never claim to be able to edit my own work, I believe I have the creds necessary to fill that role for someone else.
I’m delighted he found something to focus on, something to look forward too. I’ve long ago decided that the secret to happiness is to have a goal or, if you will, a dream. It’s better to spend your time being someone going somewhere, rather than just standing still and letting the moss of passing time cover you over.
David and I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and a Happy Kwanzaa!
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
The Christmas rush is on. This year, fortunately, I’m not too terribly disorganized. Perhaps it’s a cop out on my part, giving everyone except my toddler great-grandbabies gift cards. For me that option is easy as heck. For the recipients—they can get something they really want, and there is no need for them to be disappointed or to return anything.
David and I aren’t getting anything for each other this year. We may go away someplace warm in February, but the jury is still out on that. For the most part, if there’s anything we need we just get it. And we’re both at the point that we don’t want what we don’t really need. This will be his last year in the work force. He’s ready for retirement, and while I’m not quite there yet, I will be on the day he punches his time card for the last time.
Meanwhile, life goes on. We had expected him to be ‘enjoying’ a seasonal lay-off, beginning October 28th. Everyone at his jobsite got notices of the impending action. The plant manager was very upset about the decision, which was a last minute one and came from head office. The man worked some magic and managed to keep a crew of about ten, based on seniority. Since David is the most senior employee—coming up on 40 years—that was a bit of a relief.
We’d already pared back our holiday plans, and tightened our belts. When you get to our stage of life, that isn’t a difficult thing to do. Being older, these bumps in the road don’t jar us the way they did when we were younger. I do dislike uncertainty, but that’s my problem, totally. We would have gotten through a two-month long lay off, but we’re just as happy we didn’t have to.
My daughter is hosting Christmas dinner on the 28th, as that is when she and our second daughter, Sonja, are scheduled to be off. Sonja is cooking the turkey, and my husband is already rubbing his hands in anticipation. Of course, that means that Christmas Day, it’ll be just the two of us. And that will also be a gastronomic treat for him. He loves goose. Absolutely loves it. The rest of the family, not so much. So, this Christmas Day’s supper, here, will be simple: roasted goose, rice with raisins, and some green veggie—possibly spinach or swiss chard. I might even have a glass of white wine with my meal. That’s Morgan’s idea of living life on the edge.
Last Friday we awoke to our first real snow fall. We’d gotten a skiff or two before this, but the temperatures at that point were mild enough that the white stuff melted by end of day. I was just relieved the snow held off long enough for my beloved to correct his slight miscalculation with regard to the porch steps and walkway.
A week or so ago, the temperature dropped and the wooden steps and walkway that were wet at the time, became too icy for me to navigate. On the porch, in a blue box with a lid, there was some salt. We had checked just the day before, but none of our local stores had received their new stock of salt, so there had been none available to buy. All the salt we had was this lump that took up nearly half the box. Now, I had asked my husband a couple of weeks beforehand to take a minute and take something sharp to that salt block, to break it up so it could be used on the steps. I know from personal experience that would not have required a great deal of muscle. That idea, however, apparently didn’t appeal to him. Instead, (and relying on accumulated life experience), on the day those steps iced over, he brought down the kitty litter, and used that on them and walkway.
Friends, have you noticed that kitty litter isn’t the stone dust it used to be? No? Well, neither did my beloved. Let me tell you, as clearly as I can: do not try this, ever! As a result of his ministrations, the steps became slicker than cat poop on a linoleum floor. David was shocked! This should have worked! I explained, with as much restraint on my sarcasm as I could muster, that kitty litter is no longer stone dust like it was in the olden days. It’s all chemicals now, clumping chemicals, that become as one with whatever wetness it comes in contact with.
He used the outside broom and brushed off those steps. That didn’t work. My daughter rinsed off those steps with water (which, yes, is wet). That didn’t work either. My husband finally ended up getting his electric drill out, putting the wire brush tool on it, and going over each step and the entire length of the walk way with that tool, scouring off the goop.
That worked. But now it has snowed, and so the salt (which my daughter broke up for him, took her only a couple of minutes) is in use, and hooray, we have two new bags of that, now, so we’re set.
Just another example of how things can change and we don’t even really notice—until we do.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
We sometimes think that the way things are now is the way they’re always going to be. That’s a natural assumption for humans who are, by nature, creatures of habit. Most people need a certain level of stability or security in their lives, and a sense of having a measure of control over those lives.
That’s why, for example, we love our homes, however humble they may be. As I’ve mentioned more than once in these essays, my house isn’t one of those fancy homes you see featured in magazines. It’s in need of a great deal of cosmetic work and even some work that’s more than cosmetic; my laundry facilities are in the basement and very difficult for me to get to, so in that respect, the house doesn’t even work for me anymore—but it is my house. We own it outright, and there is no place on earth—no fancy hotel (and I’ve been in more than a few) or fancy house (I’ve stayed in a couple of those, too) where I feel more comfortable, or happier, than right here in my own little hovel.
The same can be said for most of us when it comes to our greater environment—like our societies. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly four in ten people in the United States never move beyond the community in which they were born. As for our society nationally, we here in North America are used to living in a democracy—be it one with a parliamentary governmental system, or one that is a republic. We think this is normal and this is the way it will always be. And that can be true, during our life times, with one codicil: we must ensure the continuation of our democracy if we want it to continue. We must protect our freedom if we want to keep it.
Being ‘free’ isn’t a done deal—it’s not a “yay, we made it, now let’s move on to other things” state of being. Freedom is something that must be constantly guarded. It must be protected. It requires a certain vigilance, a certain brightness of mind and an ability to be able to see through the dross of this world to the inner core of what is. And it requires this of all of us. We all must be vigilant.
An attack on our freedom can come stealthily, slowly, a little at a time and seem like no big deal while it’s happening—or conversely, it can seem like the perfect fix for what we think is wrong with the way things are. It’s even possible that those people perpetrating these small incursions don’t even know that’s what they’d doing. They’re just spouting off, because something has offended them, or hurt them, or they feel as if someone is to blame for whatever misfortune they’ve experienced, and the need to “make it right”, or even “make someone pay”, is a need clamouring within them to be met. And so they act, but in a way that begins to contravene our freedoms.
I’m not sure where we got the idea that life was always fair, or even, that how things are now is how they’re always going to be, without any concerted effort on our part to make it so. Since the dawn of time, human kind has been evolving. Not just in the sense of “human evolution”, either. But our societies and our institutions and our technologies have evolved, changing over time. This change is a constant, practically a law of nature. If that were not so, we would all still be living in caves.
Democracy—the kind we have here in North America—is not the only socio-political or geo-political system known to humanity. It is not the only way people on this planet are living right now. It’s just one of the ways. And for now, it’s our way, yes. But for how long, do you think?
We can trust our countries’ constitutions to keep us safe, but only insofar as everyone respects those precepts, and honors those documents. Those who would steal our freedom will act to limit those sacred tenets. There is a danger in closing your eyes and trusting, blindly, that all will go on as it is, as it has always been during our lifetimes. There is a grave danger in trusting the one who says that he alone can fix things. Those are two of the lessons that history teaches us, and we’d be wise to revisit them.
We must be vigilant.
Everything stays the same, until it changes. But that change—like death and taxes, is inevitable. The only question that remains is this: what kind of change will we experience next? Will we expand our definition of rights and freedoms and democracy, and become an even more inclusive, open and just society?
Or will we slowly, but surely, let those rights and freedoms we take for granted be restricted in the name of some so-called greater good? Will we, in fact, invest the nest egg of our future in the businesses of the snake oil salesmen of the world?
Only time will tell.
Monday, December 5, 2016
My book Home at Last (Suncoast Society 40, MM, BDSM), writing as Tymber Dalton, is now available from BookStrand:
[Siren Sensations ManLove: Erotic Alternative Consensual BDSM Romance, M/M, bondage, caning, spanking, HEA]
Ben didn’t know his Master and boyfriend would leave him homeless and in the lurch. Throw in identity theft just to add insult to injury, too. When his best friend and co-worker, Jake, invites him to move into his spare bedroom, it’s the answer to a prayer. Ben knows Jake’s straight, but it doesn’t stop him from fantasizing about the handsome Dom.
The last thing Jake wants is to take advantage of Ben and come off looking like a douche. That’s why, for now, he keeps his carefully guarded secret—that he’s bi, not straight. Toss in a pair of homophobic parents and keeping that fact quiet has made his life easier.
But as he realizes Ben is perfect for him, Jake’s forced to confront the realities of life. The choice to be with Ben means facing down his parents and confronting darker, more dangerous realities that he never encountered before as a “straight” man.
But can he admit his feelings before someone else steals Ben’s heart?
You can find this and my other current BookStrand releases, including the other books in the Suncoast Society series, under all my pen names on my author page at:
If you have a Kindle, you don’t have to wait the 4-6 weeks for books to reach third-party outlets. You can have the file sent directly to your device:
The books in the Suncoast Society series are standalone works and can be read independently of each other. The best reading order to avoid spoilers is as follows:
Domme by Default
The Reluctant Dom
The Denim Dom
A Clean Sweep
A Roll of the Dice
A Lovely Shade of Ouch
A Merry Little Kinkmas
A Very Kinky Valentine’s Day
Things Made Right (Ross and Loren’s story)
Spank or Treat
A Turn of the Screwed
Kinko de Mayo
Out of the Spotlight
Friends Like These
The Strength of the Pack
Rhymes With Orange
Beware Falling Ice
Beware Falling Rocks
Dangerous Curves Ahead
Two Against Nature
Home at Last
A Kinkmas Carol (Coming 12/23/16)
Ask DNA (Coming 1/9/17)
Time out of Mind (Coming 1/23/17)
Happy Valenkink's Day (Coming 1/6/16)
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
I’m a creature of habit, and I’m willing to admit that my habits may not all be completely healthy ones. I don’t know if it’s always been an aspect of my personality, this tendency I have now toward hermit-like behavior, or if it’s a development arrived at through necessity.
I suppose the fact that I’m happiest at home with only the fur babies for company is a natural result of living with the daily reality of arthritis. When every step and ever movement is painful, it’s natural to want to limit those steps and movements. And while I do wear a step counter every day, and I do aim for four thousand steps a day often achieving or surpassing that number, it’s much easier walking around my house than it is trying to navigate the outside world.
It’s also easier not wearing a smile every minute of the day, which is me at home. The puppy and the puddy are fine with my ordinary every-day, non-smiling, writing-jammie clad self. They’ve not issued a single complaint—as long as I keep the treats coming, they’re happy.
I have my routine, something I refer to as “multi-tasking”. That just means that I don’t let myself sit too long at my computer before getting up and applying myself to the housework. My husband works outside at his job, but is on his feet for a good part of the day now, which is always the way it is for him in the last few weeks of the year. Once he comes home at the end of each day, he may nap or he may play at his own computer, but the only thing I ask of him is that he set the table. He’ll do the supper dishes, or not, depending on the day he’s had. I’m fine with that, even though it means I have to pick up the slack when he opts out.
My beloved reminds me that he has less than a year now until retirement; I remind him that retirement does not mean doing nothing around the house. This is an ongoing discussion between us—a negotiation, if you will. He’s all, “I’m not leaving one job to pick up another,” and I’m all, “so does that mean I get to retire, too, from feeding you?”. As I said, a negotiation. I believe we’re close to settlement as he agrees that taking a couple of hours every morning to help out isn’t so onerous a prospect, after all.
I think I’m in the catbird seat here, as he hates cooking with a passion—but loves eating nearly as much as that.
It’s going to be an interesting dance the two of us will be doing once he is officially retired from the EDJ (evil day job). Someone asked me just last night if I was looking forward to his being home full time. The question gave me pause, as I didn’t really know how to honestly answer that and come out looking like anything other than the worst kind of bitch.
On the one hand, and really, most importantly, I’ll be glad he no longer has to push himself, doing what for him has become increasingly more difficult with age. I’m glad that he’ll no longer have to go in every day and face a job he no longer loves, working for a company he no longer respects. He’s looking forward to his future, and I want him to have that.
On the other hand, I am going to have to learn how to share my domain. I know it’s a dilemma faced by every couple in this situation. I recall my old High School history teacher, married for over forty years. Within a year of his retirement, his wife divorced him. Since the man had been my husband’s history teacher for one semester, I remind him of that case as well.
The secret is going to be in compromise—not a dirty word for either one of us. We’ll be embarking on new territory, after all, very much like we did when we first got married forty-four and a half years ago.
But unlike then, we’re a little more mature, and a little less quick to take offense these days. I’m thinking the bumps in the road ahead of us will be solid, but minimal.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!
Also, this week marks the 10th anniversary of Wednesday’s Words.
I can’t believe that I’ve been yammering on here every week for ten years. Do you know my first few essays were only two or three paragraphs long? Ah, those were the days. I’m sure there are times when some of you reading my words wish these essays were still that short.
Thanksgiving was my first topic—when I was awaiting the publication of my first book in the coming spring, and trying to find my way in this amazing medium of the Internet. My original goal was to let you get to know me through my thoughts and ideas and dubious artistic style.
Ten years doesn’t seem like much, especially when you’re in your twenties and thirties. But these past ten years, I have gone from being a woman just into my fifties to one in my sixties, and let me tell you, it’s been an…interesting…ten years. The time has flown, punctuated by highlights and lowlights and everything in between. And through those years, and all those different lights, the holidays we celebrate kept returning, like an audio-video panorama on a continuous-play loop.
Each holiday, like Thanksgiving, seems more precious to me, the more the years pile up. The truth is that for those of us alive at this particular time in human history, with everything moving so quickly in our advanced technological age, the holidays are among those rare moments when lasting memories of love and friends and family are made and remembered. They’re the days or the seasons when we take a moment to immerse ourselves in those traditions that we enjoyed from the time we were young. I wonder if anyone has ever written a book about holiday traditions being the touchstones that anchor us in life? Someone should, if it hasn’t happened already. I think of these special times as center points—a spoke in the wheel of our lives that we keep coming back to as we travel our individual paths.
Holidays are also occasions when we are most likely to feel the loss of those no longer with us. I don’t think holidays fulfill their greatest potential for us without such moments of reflection. None of us are immortal, but we can all achieve a measure of immortality by living on in the hearts and minds of those we leave behind when we die. It’s proof of one of my favorite sayings—that people will remember how you made them feel long after they recall anything you ever said.
Turkey and stuffing, candied yams, and whatever other “trimmings” are special to your table are so much more than just food. They, too, are memories. No two cooks prepare their turkey the same way. My husband had an aunt who always cut the skin off the bird, just before serving it…and then tossed that discarded, golden crispy skin into the trash. Our Sonja has become a very good cook only because she knew it was necessary to feed her children (when she first came to us she said she hated cooking. I think she still does, but cooks anyway). And it is Sonja alone in our family who makes the very best turkey, always so moist and tasty—because she bastes it every half hour without fail. My husband only wants to eat turkey if Sonja has cooked it.
Looking back on the feasts over the course of my life, and beginning when I was just a child, I must confess that I enjoyed the turkey sandwiches the day after far more than I did the bird on the feast day itself. I am even guilty of sometimes putting a bit of stuffing between the turkey and the lettuce on my sandwich.
As you prepare to celebrate this Thanksgiving, I hope that your day will be filled with friends and family, good food, laughter and love. And that you will take a moment to gather it all in and hold it close to your heart.
Friday, November 18, 2016
Relentlessly HAMMER the Human Race With ***TRUTH*** and More Truth
*Versus* The Robber Baron Globalists Vampire-Feeding On the Innocent, the Good, the Beautiful ... All While Berserker-Battling the People's Right To Freedom
CROP CIRCLES! OMY! ... PORTALS AND STARGATES WILL OPEN FOR MANY TO SEE NOW ... CERN AND RIPPING OPEN THE DIMENSIONAL FABRIC CONTINUES ... ANTARCTICA, WHAT IS THE TRUTH? ... AND ANOTHER ANTI-CHRIST
BLURB... crop circle investigator Patty Greer ~pattygreer.net~ shared her latest research and theories. Greer expressed frustration with the suppression of her research, noting how she cannot get her films on any distribution platforms, as well as the closure of crop formation research center Silent Circle in Wiltshire, UK. "There is something really heavy going on with crop circles," she said, suggesting there is a nefarious group of people that don't want her data to get out.
Greer indicated her latest documentary, Crop Circle Diaries, may be the last movie on the topic of crop circles. She revealed during filming a mysterious helicopter purposely circled so low and for so long that it tied her hair in knots. Greer confessed her belief that crop circles are a genuine phenomenon and provide much physical evidence left behind from visiting UFOs. She also spoke about the plant research of William Levengood.
[NOTE: Crop Circles REVEAL the use of PLASMA ENERGY as a reality. The people of Earth DO NOT NEED the big oil cartels]
Article: Strange Goings On in Antarctica - Did they find some sort of lost ancient high technology there? ~ 11/8/2016
So, all of this, I suppose, is the context in which, perhaps, to view the following strange statement in the article, indeed, the only statement in the article of any real factual significance, and one which invites - nay, almost compels - some high octane speculation:
Officials with the National Science Foundation (NSF) have launched a medical evacuation flight to NSF's scientific station at the geographic South Pole.
After comprehensive consultation with outside medical professionals, agency officials decided that a medical situation at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station warrants returning a member of the station's winter crew to a hospital that can provide a level of medical care that is unavailable at the station.
The patient is seasonally employed through the Lockheed Martin Antarctic Support Contract (ASC), the prime contract for operations and research support contractor to NSF for the United States Antarctic Program (USAP). NSF is not releasing any further personal or medical information to preserve the patient's privacy.
Say that again please? Lockheed-Martin has a contract for scientific research in Antarctica? The same Lockheed-Martin renowned for advanced aerodynamics, the same Lochheed-Martin that is a key corporate defense contractor and player in the US military-industrial complex?
Article: Pilot of passenger jet forced to put the aircraft into a steep DIVE to avoid a ‘UFO' that was ‘too high to be a drone’ in emergency over Canada that injured two cabin crew
A Porter Airlines Dash-8 turboprop plane had a near miss with a 'UFO'
It was coming in to land at Billy Bishop City Airport in Toronto, Canada
54 passengers were on board the plane, which was flying from Ottawa
By RITA SOBOT FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 09:05 EST, 15 November 2016 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3938076/A-drone-9-000ft-don-t-think-Passenger-jet-near-miss-UFO-Canada.html
Article: Alien hunters in a frenzy after ‘burning UFO’ is caught on camera flying over Lima, Peru
Sunday, November 13, 2016
The slow-moving ball of orange light can be seen flying through the dark sky in the eerie clip, before disappearing without a trace.
— The Sun
Article: "Aliens Will Return To Earth Within 20 Years"~ Saturday, November 5, 2016 ...says "Chariots of the Gods" author Erich Van Daniken. — Yahoo! News
Article: Special Report: Bee County Bigfoot ~ Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Baldemar Galvan, who runs the Bee County Bigfoot Research Group, shares stories of local Sasquatch creatures.
Article: Bizarre remains of medieval giantess discovered
Saturday, November 12, 2016
At more than seven feet tall the skeleton of the woman buried close to a church on an island called Ostrów Lednicki in Poland is enormous, and has one of the biggest human skulls ever found.
Article: GIANT Discovery in Bolivia: Elongated Skulls NOT Caused By Artificial Cranial Deformation – It’s Genetic
THE RISE OF CONSCIOUSNESS ... BLURB: Joanne DiMaggio ~joannedimaggio.com~ has been actively involved with Edgar Cayce's Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) since 1987, and has been professionally pursuing past-life research and therapy for over 25 years. In the latter half, she shared details and insights from the numerous past life regression sessions she's conducted. Many of her clients had deep-seated issues that were resolved in just one past life recall session-- just finding the origin of their problem allowed them to put the issue behind them, she said. Often times, people's present day physical ailments or illnesses have roots in a specific past life, she revealed.
In one of her cases, a woman suffered from sciatica (leg) pain, and went back to a life in 18th century France, where she was a ballerina who set up a rival dancer to have an accident in which her leg was injured, suggesting that some sort of karmic retribution was in play. Interestingly, DiMaggio has concluded that there is no such thing as an "old soul" as all souls were created at the same time, though some people do reincarnate more frequently than others. As part of the process, all souls picks out their parents before they're born into a body, she continued. Some of the people she's regressed have spoken in thick dialects or accents, while others have described lives on other planets, or going as far back on Earth as 800 BC.
THE ANCIENT PAST REVEALING ITSELF ... Article: Mayan 'nesting doll' pyramid is found in Mexico: 32ft-tall mystery structure is the SECOND to be uncovered inside the Temple of Kukulcan - and there could be more
The structure was discovered inside the massive pyramid of Kukulkan at the famous Mayan site
Archaeologists have long known that a smaller pyramid is encapsulated underneath the visible temple
Researchers said they have now detected an even smaller structure inside the outer two layers
By ASSOCIATED PRESS and LIBBY PLUMMER FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 18:12 EST, 16 November 2016 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3943598/Mexican-experts-say-original-pyramid-Chichen-Itza.html
Warning!!! The global elite [New World Order] does not want *you* to read this book. See ~ Powerful Dreams at my Kougar Kisses blog.
WHEN A GOOD ANGEL FALLS
~~~ Where angels fear to tread, 2012 Earth ~~~
World weary and worn out, the incarnated angel, Sedona, who believes she is merely human, has three choices after her old van breaks down.
Let the Nazerazzi squad of the North American Union capture her and force her into a FEMA concentration camp.
Walk out into the Arizona night desert, let the wildlife have a good meal with the hope her death will be quick.
Or does she dare trust the mysterious stranger suddenly before her?
Handsome as sin and all in black, he emerges out of the darkness.
Sedona wonders if the stranger on a superspeed motorcycle is her savior from the brutal endtimes.
Or, is he a roving cult member of the New World Order, hunting his next blood sacrifice?
It’s only a few days before Winter Solstice, December 21, 2012 ~ The end of the Mayan Calendar.
Sent from heaven to help Sedona save humanity, Zerr Dann knows the Divine is playing its last card on Earth.
He also knows Sedona is about to find out Christmas miracles still exist.
[Angelic Fantasy Erotic Romance]
~~~ EBOOK & IN PRINT ~~~ a former #1 on Siren-BookStrand’s bestseller list
Author Discovery by BookStrand author, Lindsay Townsend.
~ HAVE A MAGICKAL WEEK ~
Kisses from Savanna Kougar...
~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~
Siren-BookStrand Author of ~
All Shades of Blue Paradise
[World of the Blue Pearl Moon, Book 1]
When a Good Angel Falls ~ In Print
[Winter Solstice 2012, Book 1]
Murder by Hair Spray in Gardenia, New Atlantis ~ In Print
[New Atlantis Trilogy, Book 1]
Her Insatiable Dark Heroes ~ In Print
[Chrontropolis, Book 1]
Stallion of Ash and Flame ~ In Print
Branded by the Texans ~ IN PRINT ~ A Siren-BookStrand Bestseller!
[Three Star Republic]
Kandy Apple and Her Hellhounds ~ What happens when two of Hades’ most mission-accomplished Hellhounds find just the right witch for Halloween? ~ Ebook and In Print.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Be kind to one another.
If you watch daytime television—specifically, if you watch Ellen—these are words that are familiar to you. You may have caught a part of her show, or heard those words, and thought, “oh, what a nice sentiment”. And then you went back to whatever it was you were doing without another thought.
Be kind to one another.
Only five words, but if you let them sink in, if you let them permeate, they’re powerful, aren’t they? Now, some of you might wave them off, because I mentioned Ellen DeGeneres, a comedienne with a daytime talk show. I have to admit I don’t generally watch her show myself, although I have caught the odd episode, and seen the occasional YouTube clip. But then I don’t watch television in the daytime, period. I’m here, at my desk, in the daytime, half of the time writing, and half of the time pretending to write. If the day was longer, I might watch her show, because she has interesting guests, and she’s generous, not just to members of her audience, but also, and most usually to public schools and families of US military personnel, and worthy people in true need. So, in that way, I guess you could say she lives up to the words she uses at the end of every one of her shows.
Be kind to one another.
But what do those words mean, really? And, where did she get them, anyway? Here’s where my essay today might get a little sticky, but I won’t apologize for that. You see, those words are from the Bible. Ephesians 4:32, to be exact. And while I don’t usually do this, I’m going to write out that verse here, and I have a reason for doing it, so I hope you’ll allow me this indulgence and bear with me. The verse, as it appears in the New American Standard Bible: Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Here’s my reason for reproducing that quote, and I guess I’m directing this chiefly toward the self-righteous out there, especially in light of not only the storm of “unfriending” and hate-filled diatribe that I see taking place in social media in the last week, but also the hate-related attacks that have occurred in the United States since November 8th. I fear that some of you are certain you know those words already. I’m sorry, but no, some of you don’t know those words at all.
That is the entire verse, as I presented it, and looking at it, we can all agree it doesn’t say “be kind to one another but only if you’re of the same color”; it doesn’t say, “be kind to one another but only if you’re of the same political party”; it doesn’t say, “be kind to one another, but only if you go to the same church”; it doesn’t say, “ be kind to one another, but only if you’re of the same ethnicity”; it doesn’t say, “be kind to one another, but only if it’s convenient for you”.
No. It says, simply, beautifully, and in words that are all-encompassing and easy to understand: “be kind to one another”.
When is kindness warranted? Always, but especially if you see your fellow human being vulnerable, depressed, suffering, or in need. If you see kids being threatened with violence, women being abused, those of another religion scorned and beaten. We are called upon to be kind in all that we do, aren’t we? There should be no meanness and no striking out—if only because being mean and striking out brings no lasting peace to ourselves. Being kind costs nothing, mostly, except a moment of your time—a smile, a word of encouragement, letting someone go ahead of you in a line. It can be anything from simply offering a helping hand, to something more demanding, as in standing up for someone who is being treated badly, or bullied.
There are no prerequisites to the ability to offer kindness—because kindness is already within us to give. In fact, that is the only reason it’s within us. And oddly, the more we give, the more we have available for us to give. The more we give, the more we gain for ourselves. We gain a sense of having done something right, something worthwhile, something good. The truth is, we feel good when we do good. Always.
These are difficult times. People are hurting. Hearts are broken. Dreams have been dashed. People who once felt protected, now live in fear. Whether you believe these emotions are justified, or not, does not change the reality that this is what it is. Feelings are real to the one feeling them.
So please, I beg of you. Be kind to one another.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Yesterday was also a momentous day in the Ashbury family. We had two birthdays on November 8—my husband’s, and our second daughter, Sonja’s. It’s difficult with her schedule and our daughter’s, but we work hard to have a time when we can all go out to dinner together, to celebrate. This year, it was the day before yesterday—Monday, the 7th. It makes for a nice party at the local Keg Steakhouse: there’s ten of us. For this occasion, our instructions to the gang have always been to order whatever they want. We usually get a few appetizer platters for sharing, as well. The main courses by themselves are more food than I can eat, but that’s what ‘doggie’ bags are for.
Our two youngest grandchildren have always had a good sense of gastronomic adventure, willing to try anything once. When they were small, they weren’t interested in eating junk food so much as just basic good food. When I had them overnight, especially during the winter, they would often request hot cereal for breakfast, opting for that over their sugar-sweetened favorites. No instant hot cereals in this house, either. Just regular oatmeal, oat bran, cornmeal and cream of wheat, cereals that require good, old fashioned cooking.
When we’d go to the Keg for our annual expensive pig-out, they would happily try mushrooms stuffed with crab, bacon wrapped scallops, or whatever else we ordered as appetizers. Now they’re 16 (granddaughter) and 14 (grandson) and they spent the first part of the evening with their young cousins, my two great-grandbabies who are 3 and 2. It warmed me to see them encourage the little ones to try the appetizers, too. Abby loved the crab stuffing, and Archer, at two years old, was all about those scallops!
There’s something about the rhythm of day to day life, especially at this time of year, that I find comforting. It’s the beat of the music that our souls recognize as we go through the days, one after the other, as the seasons ebb and flow. Colder weather brings out hearty meals, hot cocoa, and snuggling down with a blanket, often more for comfort than for warmth. There are of course, new episodes of our favorite television shows to watch, and there are always lots of good books to read. It can be challenging sometimes to keep the main thing the main thing and to maintain that rhythm from season to season. Distractions can be…well, very distracting. It’s good to have all the very worst distractions over with, at least for the foreseeable future.
It's also at this time of year, especially, that I rue my advancing age. I agree with those of you who will say, without equivocation, that 62 is not old. However, 62 and riddled with arthritis, and with heart disease thrown in along with a side of diabetes makes me a tad too old or maybe ‘challenged’ to do the things my inner self hungers to do. We’re into the meat of autumn now. I should be making pickles and jams, freezing the produce out of the gardens, and generally, getting my “den” ready for the winter to come. The fact that I feel these instinctive urges so keenly this year, more than any in recent memory in fact, tells me we might indeed be in for what the old folks used to call one humdinger of a winter.
I miss gardening, and believe it or not, I even miss those times when I would don my winter gear and go out and shovel snow off the walkway. I think it’s that whole “self-sufficiency” thing that I really miss. I am at the point in my life where I can’t live the way I want to live all by myself. Not if I want to keep the main thing being the main thing.
What is the main thing? For me, right now, it’s focusing on what really matters in life—relationships, community, and a sense that we are all a part of something much bigger than the sum of our parts.