Stressed Turkey

Didn’t go to the family bonding ceremony today.

I’d been stressing about this all week. Whether I’m ready to be in the same room with them. Not wanting to go, dreading going, but hey, it’s family holiday time, so ya gotta go!

I stressed myself sick.

Like I have the flu but without the sore joints, headache, and all that. The other symptoms are there. Hot flashes, nausea, the rumbling gut, and other stuff that’s TMI.

But I did have a zoom call with them. Best I could do.

Oh–and the word isn’t indifference. It’s value. They love me, but they don’t value me for who I am. So growing up, there was something wrong with me, and I had to do whatever I had to so they would. They never did, and don’t. Put myself through all that bullshit angst for nothing. If I had the chance to do it over again, I would have had the confidence to say fuck you at a much earlier age.

Like 50 years earlier.


It’s The Word

I’ve hit upon it.

The word is indifference.

The family approves of the things I’ve done and my trappings.

But they are indifferent to what makes me ME. The kind of things–imaginary and not–that inform my thoughts and dreams. How being bipolar and ADHD has shaped my life outside, but mostly inside.

As long as I don’t suicide or do anything else untoward, all’s well with their world. But I bear watching, because there’s always a chance I might do those things. That’s because they care about what happens to my outsides. My insides, well, because they don’t know and are not inclined to try and understand the why and how, they lack the sympathy and compassion to deal with it. And so, when I’m depressed, suicidal, have a bout of mania, or maybe all three, it’s my fault for not being “right.” “What’s wrong with you?” is something I’ve heard pretty often over the years.

You might be wondering why I whine in this blog rather than bringing the issues up with them. FYI, I have. The result? What I perceive is nothing but my imagination. The real world isn’t that way, and they definitely are not. What I see and feel is invalid. Therefore, *I* am invalid.

You’d keep your mouth shut, too.


Blood On The Dance Floor

Don’t know about the dance floor, but you can be damn sure I’m bleeding like a motherfucker.

Shit don’t stop soon, Imma need a transfusion or five.

But then, maybe that’s what should happen. Bleed out. Bleed until there’s nothing left.

Yep, I’m talking about family shit again. The pain of my relationship with them–if you can call it that–has been seriously hard to get through. The pain of not-quite-belonging. Being an afterthought. It’s like I’m related to them by blood, but that’s it. There’s a deep, emotional connection that’s not there, and hasn’t been since I was a kid.

I’m trying to figure out how to put this into words. The only word I can think of is “approval,” but that’s really too strong of a characterization. It’s not “acceptance” because that’s too weak. It’s somewhere in between. I’ve been studying the thesaurus, but I haven’t found my meaning. At least not yet. So, for purposes of this exercise, let’s go with approval.

I’ve felt since I was about six or seven years old that my family doesn’t approve of me. They certainly approve of the things I’ve done, of what I’ve accomplished. My thirst for reading. My love of learning, whatever my obsession happened to be at the time. Well, most of those obsessions, anyway. That my favorite place to hang out when I was 10 was the museums of the Smithsonian Institution (I grew up in Washington, D.C.), and did so whenever I could, which was fairly… Continue reading

Another Note About September 12

Little after the fact now, but I just remembered something else about 9/11.

First, I’m not a TV watcher. In my house, to me it was nothing but a living room knickknack that gathered tons of dust. Today, I don’t even have a television. No loss.

But–in the days following 9/11, my then-husband and I were glued to the screen. On September 12, Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, (racist bastard that he was) was interviewed about the next move the U.S. would make in the aftermath of the attack. The interviewer asked if the U.S. was going to send troops to Afghanistan.

Helms gave her an astonished look. “Afghanistan? We’re going to Iraq!”

Screen goes black. Interview over.

My then-husband and I stared at each other, slack-jawed in disbelief.

After that, the esteemed Senator was mysteriously silent on everything, whether or not it had to do with foreign relations. He wasn’t removed as committee chair, but he no longer appeared on television, was no longer interviewed or quoted in the news–nothing. When the congressional session ended, he retired without fanfare. Slunk away might be a better way to put it.

And the U.S. sent troops to hunt for those invisible weapons of mass destruction, to hunt down Hussein, and to make sure they left lots and lots of rubble in their wake.

I’m sure that interview tape was immediately erased.


Where Were You On September 11?

So goddamned sick of that question.

Yes, it was horrible. Yes, it was a national, and for many, a personal tragedy. Yes, we are scarred as a people and a nation.

But does anyone remember what happened on September 12? And thereafter?

Islamophobia kicks into high gear. Islamists are discriminated against, harassed, and beaten. Mosques are vandalized. On September 12, Army recruiters show up at schools and scores students join, caught up in a nationalistic fervor. The result? A 20-year engagement in which the death toll of U.S. soldiers (not to mention civilians) far, far, FAR surpassed the number of those unfortunates who died when the planes hit, the Twin Towers went down, and a part of the Pentagon was torn apart. And it turned out to be all for naught. The Taliban, the so-called enemy trained by the U.S. military, are now in control of the nation the U.S. was supposed to “save.”

When all this started, I remember reading an article in which the author interviewed Russian soldiers who’d fought in Afghanistan before the U.S. barged in. One soldier called it “Russia’s Vietnam.” Another said the U.S. forces would never defeat them because the Taliban would just retreat into the rugged, cave-dotted mountains where they would never be found, a terrain on which it was impossible to fight. A third called it suicidal. And a fourth–well, he laughed and said, “good luck.”

I suppose here would be a good place to mention that the U.S. military trained the… Continue reading

August, Already??

And mid-August, to boot.

The last couple of months have just whipped by, like a slap across the cheek. So much happening, it’s hard to remember. A few things do stand out, though.

The Moreva of Astoreth is now in full audiobook production. The narrator is British, with a rich, powerful voice. And her range is impressive. Moreva Tehi is a mezzo-soprano, while Laerd Teger is a gravelly baritone. Obviously, she can’t do a baritone, but damn, it’s close enough! Chapter 1 has been recorded, and I’m waiting on the edits before it’s sent for my review.

The Underground III is going a LOT slower than I anticipated. That’s partly because of everything else going on. Mostly it’s because my head has been in one of those spaces that makes it hard to write. And I still don’t have a title. Or an idea for a cover design. Those are usually the first things that come to mind.

Lots of marketing stuff. Education, that is. I’m working to get my online sales up. Waay up. I make something like 99% of my sales at conventions. Online sales make a couple hundred bucks, if I’m lucky. So I’m pulling all my stuff together for taxes, and let me tell you–I’m pretty sure I’m going to be audited. Like I said, my sales come from conventions, and in 2020, there weren’t any in-person ones (thank you coronavirus). So I did a few virtuals, and nothing. Didn’t surprise me. The thing about handselling… Continue reading

Lawyers, Guns, And Money

“Dad, get me out of here!”

Love Warren Zevon.

Dealing with the Big D, trying to act like everything’s OK, when all I really want to do is go back to bed and sleep forever. Going on since early May. Being up and about is like slogging through mud.

Of course, one reason for going to bed is it’s about 80-85 degrees in here and the air conditioner, which is in perfectly good working order, is sitting on the floor. In my room, the air is going full blast. Long story about someone trying to do me a favor last January or so, which is much appreciated, but it’s summer, now.

Writing is like pulling teeth. A few sentences here, a few there. But a few is better than none, right?

One piece of encouraging news. At Balticon, over the Memorial Day weekend, a local bookstore contacted me and is interested in stocking my books. Waiting now with bated breath.

Too tired to write any more. Going to bed. It’s cooler, anyway.


All Shot Up

Vaccinated now.

The first shot gave me a nasty headache that didn’t start until I was flying down I-97. You know, those ones that make you squint because you’re light sensitive.

The second shot. Day of, I feel kinda weird when I leave the vax site, but hey, it’ll be ok. Just get home. Flying down I-97, I start feeling weirder and weirder, and finally, I feel like I’m drunk. Or stoned. But not a good drunk or stoned. Sick drunk or stoned. I had to concentrate to stay in my lane to keep from drifting out. Consciously tell myself I had to use my turn signal. Depth perception not quite lost, but I had to change lanes at one point and couldn’t tell how close the car behind me was. So floored it, and hoped they weren’t going faster than me. Then a cop starts tailgating, for no reason I can see. Maybe because I have a black Tahoe. Cops tailed me all the time because Black driver, black SUV = drug dealer. But that was in 1999, when the truck was new. In 2021, it’s a battered, rusting hulk (runs great, though). Anyway, I’m praying he’s just fucking with me. Turns out he was. So, I get home, stumble in the front door, and stumble upstairs to bed.

Next day, Death comes for a nice visit.

He left about 10 this morning. Relief.

Now, of course, the day job rears its ugly head. Have to submit my article… Continue reading

A Note

All the critical reviews of The Moreva of Astoreth are in. All stellar. Those are the ones I care about.

Checked out new reader reviews on Amazon. Some of them make me laugh. One reader said the book is “well done, but unlikeable.” Didn’t like the first person narrative. Well, okay. Thanks for pushing on with it, though. And then, about Tehi: “I really couldn’t stand her.” Um…you weren’t supposed to like her. She’s a bigoted bitch who gets her comeuppance.

That’s the thing I don’t understand. Readers want MCs they can cotton onto right away. A good guy from the start, a good guy throughout, a good guy at the end. Granted, that works in some stories, great stories, but more often than not, it doesn’t. The tales are shallow. A flawed hero has the chance to grow into someone greater than who they were at the beginning. Self-examination throughout. That’s called a character arc. If there’s no character arc, no growth because the MC is always reacting to something external, what’s the point? The MC learns nothing about themselves. There’s no emotional depth. They’re cardboard cutouts, lumbering from scene to scene. Bor-r-ring.

Give me a flawed hero every time.


You Know What’s Scary?

A guy you can’t see with needles and tiny, sharp, scissors messin’ around with your eye.

And your eye is open.

All you can see is the blinding surgical lamp and these dancing metal points.

That’s some Marathon Man shit.

Oh, yeah–and if he tells you “little pinch” just before injecting the anesthetic? HE’S LYING.

Third time I’ve had to go through this. Before that, it was a soldering iron. Once, he didn’t give me enough numb juice, AND I FELT IT. Thankyuhjeebus this time was the last.

Except it ain’t over.

Oh, no. The universe don’t play dat with ol’ Roxy.

Don’t know what’s coming next. Sending me off to another dude. He’d better not tell me “little pinch” ’cause I’mma call his ass out.

Getting old sucks. If I’d known it was going to be like this, I’d have swallowed those damned pills a long time ago.