Roxanne Bland

I am a genre-bending novelist of fantasy, science fiction and romance. My motto: Reality is highly overrated.

Monica Lewinsky, Survivor

So I’m still on my YouTube kick, and recently discovered John Oliver’s “Next Week Tonight.” Just hilarious. Yeah, yeah, I know–just call me a late bloomer. Anyway, the show was about public shaming. When I think about it, it seems public shaming has become an American pastime. Oliver portrayed a woman who’d been publicly shamed and she said she had to basically reinvent herself because she couldn’t do the simple things, like find a job.

But the star of that episode was Monica Lewinsky. Remember her from the 90s? Remember what she went through? The sordid details of her affair with Bill Clinton laid bare in Attorney General Kenneth Starr’s report to Congress? I felt so sorry for her back then. To have your life cut open and dissected like a frog in a high school biology class. And she was only 22 years old.

On his show, Oliver aired various clips from speeches she’d given about her ordeal. In one, with tears in her eyes, she talked about the horror of having her name dragged through the mud and her reputation tarnished “on a global scale.” Can you imagine that? Everybody in the world knows your name, and though they might not know what you did, they knew it wasn’t good. Oliver also shared an interesting tidbit. Monica Lewinsky’s name has been mentioned in 193 songs by various artists. Gah.

The jewel, though, was an interview he did with her. Nearly 20 years on, she talked about what the… Continue reading

What About Charles Dickens?

I like Charles Dickens. No, really. Granted, I have to be in the mood for him–all those run-on sentences, you know? But I do like him, and that’s because he tells it like it is (was). I’ve read any number of books romanticizing Victorian London. Perhaps that’s because the stories were told from a certain point of view. The reality, though, is that Victorian London was a horrible place to live unless you were among the elite and could disappear to your country estate, or at the very least, middle class. The poor? Forget it. Children as young as six sent to work in the factories, usually in jobs that were so dangerous it would make your eyes bug. How would you like to have a job where you had to squirm between the jaws of these giant looms to clean the bits of cotton that had gotten stuck in the teeth? Horrific injuries were the norm, as it was for all factory workers. And their pay was a pittance. If they were lucky, enough of the family worked so they could at least afford to keep a roof over their heads, and some food in their bellies.

Being in service wasn’t necessarily too bad–the pay was better, at any rate. Better to be a live-out servant than a live-in, though. Live-ins were at the beck and call of the family 24/7. And accommodations might not be all that great if your family was cheap. Like your quarters might have… Continue reading

Do You Believe?

Do you believe in the paranormal? Aw, c’mon–don’t be embarrassed. We’re all friends here.

*Crickets*

Okay–would it help if I told you that I do?

Yes, I’m a firm believer. I’ve never seen a ghost, shadow people, or anything like that, but I’ve had too many weird things happen to me to chalk it up to my imagination. I mean, I’ve got a fabulous imagination–after all, I write fantasy and science fiction. These events, though, went just beyond the pale.

I’ll tell you about a couple of them. I used to live in a place called Silver Spring, a city in Maryland located right on the line dividing Maryland from the District of Columbia. One night, I was supposed to attend a retirement dinner (I was supposed to speak) in Annapolis, also in Maryland. Annapolis is about 40-odd miles from DC, with some of the busiest highways in the region. Anyway, I was late (as usual). I hopped into my Corvette and high-tailed it out of Silver Spring. I reached the highway and got underway. As I drove, I noticed there was hardly any traffic, which was seriously strange as it was only 6 PM, when it should have been really busy with commuters. I took it as a sign of good luck because that meant nobody would be my way. I reached the venue and pulled up to the valet parking station. Rolling down my window, I asked the valet the time, since I wasn’t wearing a watch. He… Continue reading

Atlas Shrugged

If I was a character in the Atlas Shrugged world, I’d be a taker, and not a doer (I forget how Rand characterizes them). I would know how to operate things, but not how to fix them. I would not be in the ranks of the Hank Reardons or Dagny Taggarts of the world. I would be one of the huddled masses cowering in the cities with no electricity and whatever other staples of life I take for granted once the people who actually run things take off and join John Galt in that hidden valley, waiting for people like me to die off or otherwise disappear so they can make a triumphant return and get the world going again. On their terms, of course.

I pulled up my blog last week and discovered a note from WordPress telling me I had to update my current version of PHP for, among other things, security purposes. Okay–I get that. WP was kind enough to provide more information about PHP and what I should do to update it. First, it said, I should back up my page. A list of back-up plugins was presented, from which I should pick one. I chose the first one because, well, it was there. So, following the directions given, I start installing the plugin.

My blog disappeared.

All I saw on the screen was a string of random-looking numbers, letters, and various symbols, two lines of this gobbledegook. The rest of the screen was white. Yes,… Continue reading

YouTube Is My Friend

Okay, so I’m spending waaay too much time watching YouTube, but I find it fascinating. Mainly, I’ve been watching documentaries and such on ancient and lost civilizations. Well, the aliens did it. They did everything–built the pyramids all over the world, built this, built that… Well, the people on these shows did seem sincere. Then I’ve been watching weird stuff, like videotapes of the last moments before people disappeared, ghosts, and whatever.

The one I just saw on the Titanic was intriguing. Yes, all sorts of theories abound, but this one…

Well, it seems the Titanic didn’t sink–it was her sister ship, the Olympic, and the switch was made for the insurance money. Seems that Olympic had been damaged in a collision, and so they pulled a few tricks like switching the names of the ships and other hijinks. So when the “Titanic” went down, White Star got all that lovely insurance money.

I’ve also been watching shows on astrophysics and the like. Those are fun, too–though I confess I don’t always understand it. Anyway, lots of fun!

WTF??

So while waiting for my head to unscramble, I’ve been looking at stuff on YouTube–you know, creepy videos, lost civilizations, government and mainstream science conspiracies, ancient aliens–twaddle like that. Anyway, I came across this lecture given by this guy David Icke, so I decided to have a look. It was about Gnosticism. He explained what it was about, the gnosis, or knowledge and so on. Watching it, I thought “well damn–no wonder the Roman Church persecuted the hell out of them!” It was all very interesting, and after it was over, I did a ‘net search on Gnosticism, and that was interesting, too. I’m going to delve into it in more depth–my curiosity is aroused. Then I looked up David Icke.

To use the British parlance, David Icke is a nutter.

Too bad, really, because on the video, he seemed to be such a sane man. He believes that many of the elite in the world, like Queen Elizabeth II, George W. Bush, etc. are lizard people, or something like that. There was something about these lizard elites and red dresses, too. Don’t ask. White supremacists apparently love him, Holocaust deniers, and other idiots of that ilk.

Maybe this guy should get a lobotomy.

The things you find on YouTube…

Another Win!

My latest novel, Invasion, has won its second book award!

Creativity and Mental Illness

Is there a link between creativity and mental illness? Some in the psychiatric profession and other mental health practitioners seem to think so. Of course, this doesn’t mean one has to be mentally ill in order to be creative. Psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison wrote a book, “Touched By Fire,” that explored this connection. She examined the lives of several famous artists–poets, writers and visual artists–such as Samuel Coleridge, Lord Byron, and the like. Her research delved into the letters written not only by the artists, but also from friends and such. Her conclusion was that these artists had various mental disorders. You should read it–whether you agree with her or not, it is quite interesting.

I’m an author, in case you haven’t noticed from the postings on this blog. I’m also bipolar. I don’t talk about it because I’ve found, through bitter experience, that mental illness still carries a stigma in our society. Does being bipolar help my creativity? Sometimes I think so. I wrote the first six chapters of my latest book “Invasion” in three days during a manic phase. I didn’t sleep at all during that time.

My mania is pretty low key as far as manic episodes go. I mean, I don’t get naked and climb on statues. I have grandiose, unrealistic ideas, some of which I’ve acted upon to my detriment. And I spend money, lots of money. It’s like there’s this other person doing things that make no sense. Like blowing through my IRA. Almost… Continue reading

December Doings

Here it is December, already. November went by like a slap in the face.

I did a video interview this weekend in Connecticut. It went well, at least I thought so. Hope I didn’t flub it in places too badly. It snowed, too. I hate snow. Having to clean it off a car is the pits. Scared to death to drive in it, too. I’m just not used to it anymore. Lucky for me, the roads were clear by the time I set out for the airport.

Have I ever told you how much I hate cold weather? Well, I do. Seems the older I get, the less I’m able to deal with the cold. I just don’t want to go out in it. I’ve even been known to forego grocery shopping, just so I won’t have to go outside.

So. Invasion is doing well, lots of 4 and 5 star reviews. I’m making sales, too. About 40 or 50 so far, which is not bad, considering I’ve done hardly any marketing on it. The other two books–The Moreva of Astoreth and The Underground–are doing pretty good, too.

Will be making my yearly trek to Boston in January, to the Arisia sf/f convention. I think I’m also going to say the hell with it and go to Boskone, too, in February. I’ll be taking the train, and it has wi-fi, so I can work.

That’s all for now. Pretty much worn out after my trek this weekend.

Ciao!

On The Book Of The Day Campaign, Part II

Well, Saturday is coming to a close, and my Book Of The Day campaign is too.

What did I get out of it? A lot of exposure, that’s for sure. Seems like folk were coming out of the woodwork. Then again, OnlineBookClub claims to have something like 300K members. So maybe that’s it. But very few sales.

Anyway, I did see a good deal of enthusiasm. The majority of responders said they were interested. Of course, there were the few trolls who felt it necessary to proclaim that The Moreva of Astoreth “wasn’t their cup of tea,” “don’t like epic fantasy,” and whatnot. Well, then, don’t read it. Oh, yeah–and they don’t like the cover.

Tomorrow’s Book Of The Day should be VERY interesting. It’s featuring The Underground. The warning is in BIG, CAPITAL letters, but we’ll see how many people actually pay attention to it. Never mind that it’s 4.4 on the Amazon scale. I can see a lot of people complaining to the club about it. BET I get a note from Scott Hughes either banning me from the site, or at least banning me from participating in BOTD in the future. Whatever. I’m not sure I’m going to follow it like I did today. For one, I’m going to the movies tomorrow. For two, I need to get some WORK done. I don’t even know what my topic is going to be. If I don’t get SOMETHING done tomorrow, I’ll be up all Monday and Tuesday nights,… Continue reading