The Pitfalls of Being Me

Last summer, I was bedridden because of knee replacement surgery. So of course, I read books. Lots of books. Three of the books I read were my own. By then I hadn’t looked at them for a year or more, and I don’t know, I guess by reading them with fresh eyes, maybe I could better understand some of the stuff people had mentioned in their reviews.

I was flabbergasted. I could see every criticism that had been made. And all of them could have been avoided with better editing. Now I’ll be honest–one book I edited on my own using Grammarly because I didn’t have the money to hire a content editor, a copy editor, or proofreader. The second book had been extensively re-edited by a content pro but I didn’t have it copy edited or proofed because, after all that, I didn’t think the book needed it. The third book had undergone a copy edit but hadn’t been content edited or proofread, again because I didn’t think it needed it.

The spelling and grammar, however, were perfect. Because I’m like that.

I couldn’t believe I’d allowed my books to be published in that state. It doesn’t matter that two of my books won awards. If you haven’t guessed, I’m a perfectionist. and what I’d published was just horrifying. So as soon as I could hobble to my computer, I contacted my formatter and asked for the last formatted copy of the three books before they went to print.… Continue reading

Wow!

The International Association of Top Professionals has chosen me as their Top Fantasy & Science Fiction Author of the Year for 2019!

I’ve never heard of them, and I don’t know how they found me, but I’ll take it!

Fuck Facebook!

Taking my Facebook author’s page down. I was told that one of my ads or something was against their rules. I have never placed a Facebook ad–not ever. So now I can’t “boost” my posts (which isn’t exactly a cost-effective way to build your brand), OR place ads. I wrote and asked what happened, and received an email from “Joyce” stating that they would not restore my privileges and that the decision was final. So fuck them.

Fifty Shades of Black

The other day, my sister and I had a conversation during which the maelstrom of emotional confusion which I’d endured for decades, unexpectedly crystallized.

Before I begin, please note that my remarks are my own, told from my point of view. Others might have a different point of view. Their views are no more or less valid than mine, but this is what I saw and experienced.

First, a little background. There are no photos of me on this site (at least I don’t recall any) but I’m black. I grew up in the late ’60s and ’70s. The gains made by the protests of the Civil Rights Movement were showing fruit–black people, at least in the cities, were more secure, especially with respect to property ownership. Thus empowered, black people began forging a new identity, fueled by the energy of the revolutionary fervor that was sweeping the nation’s young people, expressed by the Vietnam War protests and the like. Black people had firebrands like Angela Davis who forcefully spoke out against the white establishment’s racism and exhorted black people to fight back. Then there were the Black Panthers, a peaceful organization founded to help the black poor and disenfranchised in the cities (the Panthers only later became militant after attacks by the white city police), and many others. Black power, characterized by the black upraised fist, was a gesture of defiance against the whites who had oppressed us for so long (and which scared the bejesus out of them,… Continue reading

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, just went 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…