What the fckity fck


Yeah, so, trying to avoid any weird-ass AI censorship with that title. LOL

How are y’all? It’s been a minnit and I apologize profusely. The truth is, this whole pandemic shit has basically wiped writing off the face of my earth, because guess what? Life gets in the way.

During this pandemic, I have been taking care of some elderly relatives in addition to myself, and our world shrank to a microcosm during pre-vax lockdowns. I’m in the States, and some jerkwad state governments have loosened restrictions this year, which means a tidal wave of the unvaxxed amidst Delta variant creating problems for those of us who are vaxxed and who, like me, are still living like we’re in lockdown. I’m masking when I have to go out and still social distancing because I don’t want to bring cooties home to the older folx, you dig? Even though we’re all vaxxed.

And let’s just clear this up now — just because you’re vaxxed (hopefully) doesn’t mean you still can’t get COVID. The difference is, the vax will hopefully decrease your symptoms and keep the majority of the vaxxed out of the hospital, and that’s a primary purpose, is to free up hospitals/healthcare resources and hospital workers so they’re not burning out/dying.

Getting a vax is community love. Continuing to mask is also community love. It shows that you care, and that you don’t want to spread cooties to your community and friends and family.

Anyway, writing.

A lot of my fellow writers have confided to me that they’re experiencing writers’ block and other issues with regard to writing, and they’ve been experiencing this since lockdowns and, between you and me, the anxiety engendered by the previous US administration.

Y’all, that’s legit. Don’t feel guilty if you’re not able to write. Don’t feel guilty if you’re not able to deal with all the apocalyptic bullshit going on and you just can’t do X, Y, Z or whatever. That’s fine. Say no to loading your plate. Set your boundaries. If you are a creator and you’re having trouble creating, it’s okay. Everything has been a hot mess for months (who are we kidding–centuries), and in this country, at least, we’ve all seen the cracks in our infrastructure and the systemic inequity undermining everything. We’re also seeing a surge of anti-rights movements and people who have no problem resorting to violence against their fellow travelers to get whatever weird conspiracy-addled crap they want.

So be gentle and kind to yourself as you start navigating this new world. Because the truth is, the pandemic is not over and COVID is not going to go away. It’s another disease that we will have to learn to live with, and until we have managed to build up natural immunity as a species, we need to be careful and protect ourselves and others. We are not ever going to go back to pre-COVID life. And that’s not entirely a bad thing.

Here’s what I’ve been doing to get the creative coffee percolating:

  • Reading. I’ve been reading a fuck-ton of fiction, including nutty Florida stories by Carl Hiaasen; another Florida thriller writer Randy Wayne White; a historical mystery series set in New York City by Victoria Thompson; a translated dark Swedish thriller by Stefan Ahnhem; the new Star Wars novels in the new ‘verse, and lots of nonfiction, including Lillian Faderman’s The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle. I pretty much read every day, now, and it not only provides an escape, but also inspiration.
  • Watch some TV. Go ahead. If you can, binge watch your guilty pleasures. I’ve been watching the Brokenwood mysteries on Acorn TV and Murder, She Wrote on Peacock. I find that watching stuff I enjoy helps me unwind and also inspires me to create.
  • Work out. I have a regular workout regimen, so I work out 4-6 days a week via workout programs on TeamBodyProject.com. But it doesn’t have to be that way; if you take a mile walk every day, you’re getting good exercise and it helps clear your head. Just be careful out there and always carry a mask. 🙂
  • Garden. This is something I picked up during the pandemic and it brings me a lot of joy and peace to be working with plants. I have flowers and veggie plants, now, and I find that working with them and learning more about how to be a better cultivator is really meditative.
  • Doing jigsaw puzzles. By hand. Over the past year I’ve worked dozens of these on an old card table. I really like the thousand-piecers for a challenge. I do landscape images, seascapes, and Americana. It’s really relaxing and meditative for me.
  • Therapy. Yeah, I said it. I’m in therapy (again — I’ve done therapy quite a few times during my life). I started back up last year because I realized I needed some extra help on working some shit out, and I am a huge proponent of therapy. Just make sure you find the right therapist for you, within your means.
  • Podcasts. JFC, people. I’m a podcast addict. I listen to several true crime podcasts but also this great oral history podcast called Making Gay History. And I listen to some excellent news podcasts including In The Thick (news from a POC perspective). Stay away from news channels. All kinds. And do NOT get your news from social media. Podcasts, legit blogsites, and newspapers (indie and LA Times enewspapers) are, I’ve found, the best way for me to stay informed and absorb information and mull it over without the constant bombardment of reality-show news. That shit is designed to fill you with fear and dread, which contributes to the divisiveness around us. So remove yourself.

Those are a few of the things I’m doing and you know what? I actually am writing again. I’ll be posting some fanfic soon and I’m finishing up expanding a short story into a novella that I hope to publish soon. It’s different — YA teen detective kinda stuff.

So, yeah. There’s a lot of horrible shit going on, and you are totally legit in not feeling very creative if that’s where you are. But try to find a little bit of joy in each day, and remember to be kind to yourself and others. There seems to be a dearth of that.

Love and peace! And I think I’m gonna make this blog shit a regular thing again. MUAH!

You can choose to be childless

Hi, friends. Some thoughts.

Women and Words

Hi, all–

Just putting in some thoughts even as Women and Words winds down to its hiatus (which begins June 1, ICYMI).

I read an essay today on Feminist Giant by Mona Eltahawy titled Essay: Unmothering.” Eltahawy is a feminist author and speaker.

It starts thus:

I am childfree by choice.

My maternal grandmother had 11 children. My mother is the eldest of those children and she has three children of her own. I am the eldest of those children and I am glad to have none of my own.

It is still a taboo to say that.

She continues, discussing her realization that she didn’t want kids and that she never wanted them. And I think about all the ciswomen out there who have been pressured or felt pressured to reproduce. Eltahawy did marry a guy, but divorced a couple years later:

If marrying him was the biggest…

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Online promo tips for your book!

Hi, all–

If you’re working on a first manuscript, you need to start thinking about how to publicize your book. Whether you’re indie or working with a publishing house, the brunt of getting the word out fall on YOU, the author.

If you’re an already published author, then you’re always trying to find new ways to get the word out about your book, and we’ve all had to adjust in this pandemic era.

To that end, I ran across this great post by historian Lindsay Chervinsky who writes nonfiction, but she has some awesome tips about publicizing your book online. She posted these tips over at Medium, so


Some good ideas, there, and a lot of them dovetail with some of the things I’ve posted here over the years. You can’t not promote, anymore. But there are ways to do it without being tedious. Think outside the box. Think about themes. Think about cool stuff for a newsletter. Think about doing podcasts (that is, being a guest on one). No venue is too small if you’re passionate about what you’re writing.

And don’t just stick to finding out what fiction writers are doing, if that’s your gig. Have a look at promotion of nonfiction, too. Chervinsky is focused primarily on nonfiction, but you can adjust these tips to your own use and figure out creative ways to approach your own material. Don’t feel you’re limited to just listening to other fiction authors. Branch out. 🙂

Hope everyone is having a fab day.

Yeah…about that whole Pride thing…

Hi, friends. Thought I’d share this post I did over at Women and Words, my other hangout. Take care of each other.

Women and Words

Hi, Queerfolx.

Especially white queerfolx.

Okay, relax. If it makes it any easier, white peeps, I’m white, too. So maybe you’ll be more comfortable with a white person telling you to think about some things.

Let’s talk a bit about a galvanizing reason behind these protests. And as I write this, US military forces are literally being deployed to possibly enact lethal force on their fellow Americans — in response to peaceful protests of thousands of POC and their allies.

Please think about that, too, as you read this. About the United States military being sent to possibly employ lethal force against American citizens.

Primarily, think about police brutality, because that’s a major driver of the current protests.

I wanted to bring this up today because June is Pride month, and it’s important to remember that the modern LGBTQ rights movement was launched in the early morning hours of June…

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Get your Boots and Hat! Audiobook now available! AND GIVEAWAY OMG


Women and Words

Hi, friends!

So, I’ve had this thing going on for the past few months. I’ve kept it under my hat (see what I did there) because I’ve been nervous about it and I’m kinda superstitious about some things, so I keep ’em under wraps until I feel like it’s time to talk about them.

It’s time.

I’ve been working with Audible to make two of my books available in audiobook.

And Audible just notified me that my novella, From the Boots Up and the sequel novel, From the Hat Down, are now available AS AN AUDIOBOOK! WOOO!

I AM SO STOKED! I totes did a happy dance (and I’ll probably do a few more) and now, I’m passing this info on to you.

They’re a twofer, y’all. That means you buy it and you get both. Or, if you’re an Audible subscriber, you’re gonna get both of these…

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Tales from an aging fangirl

Been thinking about this, on World AIDS Day.

Women and Words

Greetings, fellow travelers!

I’ve been thinking about some things. As you’ll see.

I’ll start my train of thought by telling you that I’m a fangirl, and I have been pretty much my entire life. Those of us who participate in fandoms — especially if we’re from marginalized groups — find our tribes in them. We find inspiration, support, creativity, friends, lovers, partners, spouses.

I’ve found support in fandoms. And for those of us who are queer, fandoms have offered us safe haven from the shit all around, where we could tell our stories and offer each other queer rep when nobody else was doing it.

I find many vibrant, amazing, eclectic people in my communities and fandoms, many of them younger than I am, but I am so goddamn proud of the young people who are stepping up to continue the fight, who want to make things even better for…

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In Memoriam: Sarah Dreher

I just heard of the death of Sarah Dreher via one of my Twitter-mates. I suppose Twitter can be useful in that sense, though bad news is bad news regardless of the medium through which you receive it.

Dreher was a playwright and author, and also a practicing psychologist. She died April 2 of this year, a week after celebrating her 75th birthday. You can find an obituary for her here. She was a Lambda Literary Award winner, as well as an Alice B. Readers’ medalist.

I remember her best for her Stoner McTavish mystery series. I read the first one soon after I finished Radclyffe Hall’s Well of Loneliness, and it was a breath of fresh air after the sadness and tragedy embedded in Hall’s work. In Dreher’s work, I found a lesbian character who didn’t die in the end and who managed to get into a realistic relationship. Dreher’s McTavish series was probably the first genre lesbian fiction I read, and in a way, it was revolutionary and showed me what was possible in terms of writing LGBT characters and, more importantly, writing human characters.

Dreher never let a reader off easy, but her gentle humor and empathy for her characters — all of them, whether damaged, suffering, or searching — created nuanced and layered mysteries that were as much an exploration of the human condition as they were about lesbian and women’s identity against a variety of backdrops. Life is complicated. People are complicated. And Dreher knew that and gracefully wove it into her stories.

In 1997, she published Solitaire and Brahms, a novel about being a lesbian in the 1950s, and the ever-present tensions between public and private lives, a theme that seems to echo in some of her other work.

She contributed essays and writings to a number of projects, including Off the Rag: Lesbians Writing about Menopause, ed. by Lee Lynch and Akia Woods. “Waiting for Stonewall” appears in Sexual Practice/Textual Theory: Lesbian Cultural Criticism, ed. by Susan J. Wolfe and Julia Penelope. You’ll also find a contributed chapter to They Wrote the Book: Thirteen Women Mystery Writers Tell All, ed. by Helen Windrath.

You can find a collection of her plays here (published 1988), for a sense of how she brought her characters from page to stage and into the hearts and minds of audiences.

Dreher was busy in her non-writing life, as well. She was the co-founder (and, for the past seven years, president and clinical director) of Sunrise Amanacer, Inc., a non-profit organization concerned with the mental and physical health of underserved and non-English-speaking people. I like to think that the different facets of her life fed her creative mind, and allowed us a glimpse of who she may have been and the many possibilities there are for seeing each other and for those we don’t know. The prism of shared humanity offers many different views. I think Dreher’s was wide, encompassing, and always compassionate.

You can find her mysteries, plays, and novel at New Victoria Publishers here.

If you’d like to leave a comment in her memorial register, go here.
NOTE: you may have to cut and paste the link. Here it is:
If that doesn’t work, go to http://www.douglassfuneral.com and type Dreher into their search function, upper right. My apologies; the site may require that you clear your cache or refresh your browser to get to her page.

I love action movies, tropes n’ all

Hey, kids–

I’ll just own it right now. I want to see the movie Lockout (which opened today). Here’s the trailer:


I saw it advertised on the ol’ boob tube and the generic male voiceover called it a cross between Bladerunner (one of my faves) and Die Hard. The basic premise of Lockout is that there’s a seriously hardcore prison orbiting Earth, where the scariest criminals are housed.

OH, yeah. Those are a couple of good ingredients for a major action, butt-kicking, big ol’ American blockbuster hootenanny.

Let’s see how many action movie tropes we can pick out in the trailer alone.

Join me for some trope-hunting…

Here’s what I came up with:
Continue reading