Aya Walksfar, Author

Hard hitting, in-the-news murder mysteries

5 #Supernatural Facts You Need To Know

From the time of the Great Fall, vampires have lived among us. Although there have been times when humans and vampires have coexisted somewhat peacefully, that has not occurred for hundreds of years–not since the Time of Hunting. During the Time of Hunting, humans partnered with certain segments of vampire society and declared war upon all Supernaturals. Fortunately, another segment of vampire society continued to be strict adherents to Artemis’ Purpose.
By the time the second vampire war ended, thousands of humans, vampires and other Supernaturals lay dead. Human hysteria fed continued attacks on vampire and Supernatural enclaves, and so vampires and other Supernaturals went underground. In order to soothe human fears, many myths, legends and other sources of misinformation were established by the Supernatural community.
Here are 5 such myths:

  1. Myth: #Vampires, werewolves, witches, and other Supernaturals don’t exist. The truth is that Supernaturals have existed since Time Began, except for vampires. Vampires were created by Artemis in response to Caine killing his sister, Abella.

  2. Myth: Vampires are harmed by garlic, holy water, crosses or other symbols of religion, silver, and sunlight. The truths is that some vampires enjoy a nice, garlic-laden Italian dinner, belong to various religions, have silver serving dishes and wear silver jewelry, and sun bathe like humans. Vampires can be killed, however, by shredding the heart and decapitation. Gold weakens and burns them.

  3. Myth: Vampires are evil. The truth is there are two distinct segments of vampire society. One segment views humans as blood cattle; the other segment adheres to Artemis’ Purpose to save human souls.

  4. Myth: Vampires turn into bats and fly. The truth is that vampires can no more fly–without an airplane–than humans. However, they can teleport, but it is a rare Power. Vampires do have a wide range of other Powers, though.

  5. Myth: Vampires are ruled by blood lust. The truth is that Artemis instilled both a blood lust and a sexual lust in vampires in order to remind them of there connection to humanity. Although vampires can survive on feeding their Hungers with vampires, Supernaturals or even animals, over time their Powers will weaken. In order to maintain the optimal level of Power they must feed from humans, both blood and sex.

In spite of hundreds of years of carefully maintaining their mythological status, vampires now face the risk of being outed. Once defeated by the combined efforts of vampires and other Supernaturals, the segment of vampire society that wants to make humans into blood-cattle has risen from the ashes of that defeat. While the World Council of Matriarchs sit on the sidelines, First Councilwoman Serena Longer faces the greatest challenge of her very long life: to keep her heart and her People safe.
To learn more about vampires, read Artemis’ Warriors, Book 1, The Vampire War.
https://www.amazon.com/Artemis-Warriors-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B0158NZ1L6
front cover artemis

COMING July 8th on Amazon! Arundia Returns, Book 2, The Vampire War.

If you love vampires, enjoy a good adventure with a sexy heroine, you don’t want to miss The Vampire War Trilogy!
katrina leavereview

Share

5 Rules for Juggling Life

5 Rules for Juggling Life
1. When you wake up, decide on your attitude for the day. Sometimes, we all have days when we wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Maybe we had unpleasant dreams or ate the wrong kind of food for dinner; whatever the reason, we are irritable. Such irritation sets the tone for the day. If you allow it to continue, it will taint all that you attempt to do. Take a few minutes, grab a cup of tea or coffee and look out your window at the magnificent day! Even if a cold wind is blowing and rain is slashing down, it is still a glorious day. You have these hours of life ahead of you. This moment, right now, is the beginning of the rest of your life!
what moment waterfalls imagequote
2. No matter how positive we determine to be, sometimes life happens. Sadness invades our hearts; perhaps a friend dies or a senseless act of violence rips through the community. You feel impotent, angry, lost. Reach out to someone and ask for help in dealing with such events, whether those events are personal or more widespread. We all need help sometimes.
IAmHappy
3. Prioritize your day. No day is ever long enough to accomplish everything we want to get done. If we fail to prioritize, we spin our wheels leaping from one emergency to another and getting nothing completely done. By the end of the day, we are exhausted and feel as if we’ve failed. Don’t do this to yourself! Sit down with that cup of tea or coffee, take out a piece of paper and a pen. Make a list of everything you want to do then go back through it and number it. The “have to get done” thing is number 1. Number 10 or higher is reserved for those things that will inevitably wind up on tomorrow’s list.Remember, to get where you are going, you have to know which roads you need to take and in what order.
no distance too far
4. Be sure to leave time for loved ones; take time to say I love you. Take time to hug that special someone. Life is not guaranteed to any of us. This moment is all that we own. I think of those poor relatives of the Orlando victims—their loved ones will never return home; there will never be another day, or even another hour, in which to tell them they are loved; they are valued.
loveisagift
5. Make time for yourself. If you don’t allow yourself time to heal, to regenerate, you will eventually have nothing to give to anyone else. You are one of Creator’s children, too, and you are worthy of care; of love, both from others and from yourself.
creator's child

Per Rule 1: I realize that it is easier to expound on “rules for juggling life” and all of its many demands than it is to actually put these things into practice. I have found that if I take time for a cup of tea in the mornings, before I begin my day, then it is easier to keep a positive attitude. There are times that translates into getting out of bed a few minutes earlier. In my experience, such measures are well worth the reward.
Per Rule 2: This past week has been rough; emotions swing wildly as the full impact of the massacre in Orlando, Florida becomes devastatingly apparent. As a lesbian, I have faced violence before, but the pure hatefulness–such as the protesters at the #Orlando funerals–that has come to light staggers me, heart, mind and soul. Then love will shine through the darkness and my emotions swing back the other way. Trying to maintain a positive and/or productive attitude in the midst of this tragedy, has been challenging. There have been times I have had to simply shut down any input from outside to give myself a breather to regroup. I have talked about this attack to friends and that has helped to a certain degree. I have turned to my pagan beliefs and that, too, has helped as my spirituality always does. And, I have written. Writing has always been the staff that steadies me against the greatest of storms.
Per Rule 3: I have a easy-to-carry-with-me calendar. I write down everything in the calendar from stopping at the store to doctors’ appointments to what I need to do for my writing. Then I break those things down farther, such as writing becomes write one chapter in new WIP (work in progress), respond to three readers’ questions, contact beta readers about newest novel, and so on. Not only does it help me not to forget important steps I need to take, but it is satisfying to run a line through each item that I accomplish.
Per Rule 4: The people and dogs that I love recharge me. When I hug my wife, I am energized. I feel as if I can climb Mount Everest. Throwing a ball for my dog or taking one of them for a walk or simply cuddling one of them on the couch, centers and refreshes me. I usually don’t set aside a large amount of time all at once, except for things my wife and I have planned, but instead I take fifteen minutes here and there. Those minutes help me to clear my mind so that when I return to my work, I often find the solution to the problem that had previously had me stumped.
Per Rule 5: I must admit–I am not very good at this one. I find it difficult to take the time I need for myself. For example, my occupational therapist says I have to do certain exercises throughout the day, but when evening arrives I often find that I have not performed those exercises. Literally scheduling in time for such things on my calendar goes a long way toward achieving my self-care goals whether that goal is exercise, a long soak in the tub, vegging out with a book, or taking time to make a greenie Smoothie for myself instead of eating a Danish roll.

These five “rules” help me to #ManageStress and accomplish more.

What rules do you have for juggling your life? I would love to hear. Please, share.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:
1. Arundia Returns, Book 2, the Vampire War, will be released July 8, 2016. I am offering a FREE pdf of Artemis’ Warriors to anyone who would like to do a review of Artemis’ Warriors, Book 1, the Vampire War. Simply drop me an email at ayawalksfar@gmail.com In the subject line put: Reviewer’s Free Copy Artemis’ Warriors. This offer is only good until July 7th.
2. Death by Dog, #SpecialCrimesTeam, goes ON SAle for $0.99 from July 1 through July 9.
3. Are you a member of Audible? FREE #Audible download codes for Sketch of a Murder, Special Crimes Team; Street Harvest, Special Crimes Team; and, Old Woman Gone, Special Crimes Team, in exchange for a review on Audible and/or Amazon. Simply email me at ayawalksfar@gmail.com In the subject line put: Free Audible download code In the body of the email, please specify which book you would like to have.

Share

#RememberOrlando

ChooseToBe
49 dead. 53 injured. 25 still fighting for their lives in the hospitals in Florida. The worst massacre on United States soil since 9/11. Hate was the foundation for both 9/11 and the massacre in Orlando. On 9/11, people felt they had the right to “punish” the United States; that they were called by their “God” to do so. In Orlando, one man felt he had the right to “punish” people because they dared to show affection in public, and they happened to be gay. (Think how often you have kissed your loved, touched your loved one, in public…)
In spite of the Supreme Court decision on June 26, 2015 to be openly LGBTQ is still dangerous—not in some foreign nation, but right here in the United States.
Haters still cling to expressing their hatred in a number of ways. It is manifested by government officials refusing to issue a marriage license the looks the same as any heterosexual couples marriage license (one state issues a different looking marriage license for lesbian and gay couples). In some states, such as North Carolina, that hate is manifested in a wide variety of government-sanctioned ways, one of which is a restaurant owner hiding behind his Christianity can refuse to serve LGBT people. In several states that do not explicitly forbid discrimination against LGBTQ people, an employer can fire a lesbian or gay employee who gets married and asks to have her/his wife/husband covered by the employer’s insurance; or an apartment manager can evict a lesbian or gay family. Some states do not allow lesbian or gay couples to foster or adopt abandoned children.
On Sunday, June 12, 2016, around 2:40 a.m., as a crowded, LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida served its last round a man with a semi-automatic AR-15 that had the capacity to rapid fire 20 or more rounds–an assault weapon usually carried by the military in war zones; the same type of weapon that massacred people Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut. and San Bernadino, California–manifested his hate with a spray of deadly bullets.
For over three hours, people in that nightclub did not know whether they would live or die. One young man texted his mother: “in the bathroom” and a little later, “I’m gonna die”. He never made it home. A 22-year-old man had gone to the nightclub to listen to salsa music with his boyfriend. His bullet-riddled body was one of the ones carried out. A 31-year-old woman was dancing with her girlfriend when the shooting erupted. A 49-year-old heterosexual woman had gone to the club with her 21-year-old gay son. She had survived cancer twice; she didn’t survive the massacre.
Some political candidates–instead of focusing on the victims–are using this massacre to increase more hate. They want us to believe these kind of things are only perpetrated by Muslims associated with Islamic Terrorists and that therefore we should take strict measures against those who are Muslim, including banning their immigration into the United States. Unfortunately, the man responsible for the mass murders in Aurora, Colarado in 2012 was Caucasian and had no affiliation with Muslims or Islam; the boy who killed 20 6-and-7-year-old children and six adults was likewise Caucasian and had no affiliation with the Islamic Terrorists. In 2014, a young man murdered women and men because “women rejected his advances and sexually-active men had a more fun life than he did”. No affiliation with Islamic Terrorists. Men who proclaim to be Christians have routinely murdered black men and women and children since the days of slavery and the only organization with which they are affiliated is the Ku Klux Klan. Other radical, Christian groups have also periodically targeted blacks, LGBTQ people and others who were different than themselves.
These killings are not about religion; they are about hate. It is as simple as that. People who hate and have access to assault weapons can do more damage more quickly than those who do not have access to assault weapons. It is a simple equation even for someone like myself who “doesn’t do math”.
(NOTE:I believe in the right to own handguns, rifles and shotguns. Own a few myself; even have a Concealed Carry Permit. But civilians have no need to own assault weapons whose only use is to kill a massive number of people in as little time as possible without the need to reload frequently!)
The scary thing is this: for the past month I have been working on a new novel for my Special Crimes Team series. The working title is Eve of Destruction. It is about people who despise those who are not like them and make a decision to physically attack those people simply for the “crime” of being different.
CreatorLovesDiversity
I began writing Eve of Destruction in response to having a major political election with a candidate who preaches hate and discrimination. Such high level propagation of misogyny, racial bigotry, and religious hate is bound to fuel the hate and violence of those who already walk a fine line between civility and violence.
Although my Special Crimes Team series dissects serious issues in our society (as well as presenting a edge-of-the-seat mystery), my natural optimism always shows itself in my work. At the end, those who had been hard beset find ways to overcome.
While I read about the massacre in Florida, the death, the dying, the senseless violence, the hate of one man, I also read about victims who instead of blindly running away helped other victims escape; people who tore off their shirts to bind someone else’s wounds. I read about candlelight vigils and those who reached out to victims and their families and friends. I read about the real people; the everyday people of the United States, and that made me proud to live here, to be a U.S. citizen. It seems that regardless of how ugly a few people can get; how they can manifest their hatred of women, blacks, Latinos, LGBTQ, and anyone different than themselves there are others who remind me that people are often beautiful, brave, generous, and kind.
This is what keeps me optimistic. And it is this optimism that prevails in my work and my life. Though the massacre of innocent people occurs, and has been occurring with a frightening regularity in recent years, I believe that the people of the United States are basically good people; kind and just people. I believe that those people of common sense and basic human decency will overcome the haters.
CarryPeace
DON’T speak his name! Instead #SpeakNamesOfTheVictims!
http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/orlando-nightclub-massacre/orlando-massacre-what-we-know-about-victims-n591141

DON’T LET HATE WIN! LOVE CAN OVERCOME!

Share

Absent Until June 6

butterfly
Wanted to let everyone know that I will be taking a few days off from my work to simply enjoy my wife and the beauty that surrounds us every day. Have a safe and wonderful holiday weekend. Be sure to kiss your loved ones and take time to gaze in awe at the sunsets.
IAmHappy

Share

The Truth About #Vampires

In the Secret Archives of The Matriarch
Dissertation: The Truth about Vampires
By Serena Longer, First Councilwoman of the North America Vampires

Through the millennia vampires have had to propagate certain falsehoods for their safety, and the safety of humans closely associated with them. Here is a brief, and true, history of the vampire race, and the establishment of the North America Region.

When Cain murdered his sister, Abella, he and his children then attempted to eradicate Abella’s progeny. They cruelly hunted the children, murdering and torturing any they found. Their rationalization for such extreme actions was that Abella’s children followed a false diety, the Great Mother.

Artemis, Protector of the Vulnerable, intervened. She granted certain powers to Abella’s children, making them no longer fully human. She granted them superior strength, speed, intelligence and senses as well as near immortality. Goddess Hecate, the Mother of Magic, added certain magical abilities to the vampire race, though those abilities varied with each vampire line.

In return for the Warrior Goddess’ protection and Hecate’s magical abilities, the Children of Abella gave an oath to Artemis to follow the Goddess’ Purpose. According to The Purpose, Abella’s children would use their gifts to guide and to protect Cain’s progeny. They were to aid in the salvation of human souls by helping humans to evolve beyond their genetic predisposition to murder and destroy not only other two-legged, sentient beings but the other beings, such as animals, birds, even the trees and the Earth Mother as well.

A thousand years after The Purpose was set out, a number of vampire families fell away from The True Path of Artemis. They began to use their ability to enthrall and to enslave humans and other Supernatural races, and to treat all humans with contempt. Certain powerful vampire families often left drained human bodies where they died. Since at this time, humans were well aware of the existence of vampires, there was no doubt as to what type of being killed their sisters and brothers.

Panic among the human population ensued. Years of bloody fighting occurred. This was the time of The Great Fall. Many of the vampire Ancients and the vampire Teachers were murdered either by powerful vampires wanting to usurp their Families and Clans or by panicked bands of humans. Humans rioted through many vampire estates burning and beheading.

At this time there arose a type of human, from Cain’s descendants, who wielded magical powers given to them by the gods who were jealous of Great Goddess and the Goddesses. These magical wielders came to be known as Magic Users. Among their abilities was the magic that allowed them to break the enthrallment that some vampires indiscriminately used to bind humans, taking away the human’s freewill.

Magic Users despised vampires and lived only to destroy the vampire race. Though human, they frequently lived for much longer than normal human lifespans. Their powers increased as they aged and they experienced no human tendency toward disease or disability. Magic Users would gather enthralled humans, break their enthrallment and lead them to destroy vampire compounds and villages.

Between devastation reeked by humans and the destruction visited upon smaller, weaker vampire Families and Clans by those vampires of superior military strength, many vampire Clans were greatly reduced. Some vampire Clans were wiped out completely during the time known as The Great Fall.

Fortunately, the vampires who sought to enslave humans, other vampires and other Supernaturals also suffered grievous losses during this war. Weakened and at risk of being totally destroyed, the vampire race as well as other Supernaturals went into hiding; often in plain sight.

Humans who once knew about vampires and other Supernaturals eventually died off, as humans are prone to do. Knowledge about vampires and other Supernaturals became relegated to the status of legend and myth. Vampires in positions of power in the human world—either as educators or historians especially–did much to obfuscate the truth about the existence of vampires, witches and other Supernaturals.

For many generations, vampires exercised caution and took only what they needed. Using their powers, they confused the minds of the humans they drank from, leaving those humans to believe that they dreamed of the encounters. If a human was drained, the offending vampire—fearing vampire justice—carefully hid the body. Many returned to The True Path and to the Teachings of Artemis.

Hundreds of years of relative peace and prosperity for vampires followed. Until The Time of Hunting. Human history notes this era as the Dark Ages. Old legends were revived. Magic Users, who understood the fears of their fellow humans, slowly came out of hiding. They led the populace against the vampires and other Supernatural races. During this time, some vampires fled Europe. The ones who remained went deep underground.

After the hysteria died down, The Time of Hunting came to an end. The vampire population had once again been decimated. The Families and Clans who survived created the Matriarchs’ World Council comprised of the five surviving Ancients—those Matriarchs who were among the Original Vampires. The Council set out certain rules of conduct known as the Edicts of the World Council or Vampire Law.

The first and most stringent Edict was against Open Enthrallment. The Policy of Open Enthrallment upheld a vampire’s right to enthrall humans who would then be compelled to provide sustenance in the form of blood for the vampire and any she/he chose. This was much like the keeping of cattle among humans. Once the human grew too old or too ill to provide sustenance, or to be used as a slave, they were killed. Furthermore, selected humans could be Changed against their will.

The First Edict of the World Council was The Policy Against Open Enthrallment. It provided strict guidelines governing who could be enthralled, as well as who could be Changed, and under what conditions.

The second most important edict, The Edict of Mythology, decreed that all vampires propagate certain mythologies concerning Vampires and other Supernaturals.

These major reason for these mythologies was to convince humans that vampires and other Supernatural races only lived in one’s imagination or as stories told to frighten children into behaving.

Among the many mythologies some of the most popular ones are:
–Vampires are destroyed by sunlight.
–Vampires cannot go into a church, or other holy edifice.
–Vampires must sleep in coffins, sometimes with dirt from their homeland.
–Holy water and other holy artifacts can physically harm, and sometimes destroy, vampires.
–Vampires must kill in order to stay healthy.
–Vampires are cold to the touch.
–Vampires have no heartbeat.
–Vampires do not breathe.
–Vampires do not have souls.
–Vampires cannot propogate, except by ‘turning humans.’

There are, of course, other mythologies that usually spring from specific localities or cultures.

The Matriachs’ World Council, however, refused to enforce Artemis’ Purpose. It was decided that such matters must lie within the power of each vampire to individually decide.

After The Time of Hunting, the Matriarchs divided the world into five Regions. The Longer Family, led by Matriarch Belora, eventually immigrated to the New World, claiming the North America Region, which consisted of what came to be known as the United States of America, Canada and Mexico.

This paper is an overview of the history of the founding of the Vampire Race and the establishment of the North America Region.

See other entries in the Secret Archive of the Matriarch for further information and additional subjects.

To learn more about Serena Longer and vampires, be sure to read Artemis’ Warriors, Book 1, The Vampire War https://www.amazon.com/Artemis-Warriors-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B0158NZ1L6

Share

It’s Really Up To Each of Us

creator's child

Like many authors, I tackle everyday issues in my work–everything from dog fighting, hate crimes, serial killers, human trafficking of children to LGBT rights. All of these issues are close to my heart. I love dogs; I believe we all have a responsibility to stop human trafficking; I have worked with street kids; and I have spent a lifetime fighting for human rights in one way or another–the first time at the age of fourteen.

Like many lesbians, I had hoped that marriage equality would pave the way for acceptance of LGBT rights–not special privileges as some seem to believe–just human rights enjoyed by any heterosexual person. Unfortunately, the fight for LGBT rights is not over.

Why should this concern my readers?

The words of Martin Niemoller, (1892-1984) a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken foe of Hitler, and consequently spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camp, say it more eloquently than I can:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

For those living in the beautiful state of Washington where #HumanRights is more widely accepted than some states this may seem like a dead issue. I truly wish it were, but the advent of I-1515 places grave doubt that the fight for human rights for LGBT people, even in Washington state, is over.

According to The Atlantic in January, 2016:
“Twenty-eight. That’s the number of states where it’s not against the law to discriminate against a gay person who’s looking for an apartment, applying for a job, or buying something from a store. Five more states have protections, but with exceptions: New York, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin don’t forbid discrimination against transgender people, for example, and Massachusetts and Utah don’t protect all LGBT people in all situations in which discrimination might arise. The federal government does not protect against this kind of discrimination, either, except in limited cases. Although Democrats have proposed legislation that would change that, the chances of it successfully sliding through a Republican Congress in an election year seem slim.
The irony of gay marriage becoming legal in the United States is that it has made discrimination against LBGT people easier. For example: Many newlywed couples may be asking their employers for spousal benefits for the first time. Depending on where they live, it may or may not be illegal for that employer to respond by firing them—something that happened in a number of states in 2015.”

(see full article http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/01/lgbt-discrimination-protection-states-religion/422730/)

Conservatives are using the #FirstAmendment to attack LGBT rights. The First Amendment states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;….
While this Amendment originally pertained to establishing places of worship and worshipping without fear of violence, conservatives are using these words to bring back Jim Crow segregation laws that will at first be used against LGBT people.” (emphasis is mine)

Essentially what it boils down to is that I may have the right to marry the one I love, but I may not have the right to take her out to dinner (anyone remember a time when black Americans could not sit in certain restaurants?), or have our photographs taken, or to order a cake to celebrate our anniversary.

Several states have bills to allegedly “protect religious freedom”, but which in reality allows commercial businesses and organizations, including taxpayer funded organizations and governmental workers, to refuse services to LGBT people by simply saying it is against their “sincerely held religious beliefs” to serve certain individuals.
These same people frequently do not adhere to the rest of the tenets of whichever faith they are hiding behind, such as Christianity. If one decides that their “sincerely held religious beliefs”–almost always based on Christianity and the Bible–says they should not serve homosexuals because the Bible condemns homosexuals, then why are these people still divorcing, having sex outside of marriage, wearing cloth made of two different kinds of threads, not closing their businesses on the Sabbath, and so on? Why should they be allowed to cherry-pick which so-called sincere beliefs they have so that they can justify discrimination against a particular group of individuals?

According to Huffington Post, these bills—AKA Religious Freedom Restoration Acts—are popping up all over the place.

“Conservatives are putting forward state-level RFRAs to let people claim religious liberty as a justification for denying services to LGBT people. So you’ve got the evangelical Christian bakery that refuses to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, for example, or the photographer who refuses to provide services to a gay couple. In some cases, these bills are written so broadly that they also allow discrimination against single mothers, interfaith couples and interracial couples.
Seven states have active RFRA bills: Colorado (HB 1180), Hawaii (HB 1160), Iowa (HF 2032, HF 2200, SF 2171), Michigan (SB 4), Mississippi (SB 2093, SB 2822), North Carolina (HB 348, SB 550) and Oklahoma (HB 1371, SB 440, SB 723, SB 898)

As if that is not enough to worry about there are other classes of bills aimed at limiting the freedom of LGBT people.

Marriage-Related Religious Exemption Laws: these bills provide a religiously based exemption regarding same-sex marriage. Some only apply to religious organizations; others apply to commercial and government officials.(our tax dollars hard at work to discriminate against a group of people)

First Amendment Defense Acts — These bills, in essence, allow any person, business or taxpayer-funded organization to ignore any law that conflicts with their religious beliefs about marriage. Yes, it’s as sweeping as it sounds. It not only discriminates against LGBT people, but can extend to single mothers and anybody with a sexual relationship outside of marriage. A state-contracted counselor, for example, could deny services to a single mom. Taxpayer-funded adoption agencies could refuse to place children in the homes of same-sex married couples. Government employees could decline to file official forms for gay couples (remember Kim Davis?). Three states have active FADA bills: Hawaii (SB 2164), Illinois (SB 2164) and Oklahoma (SB 440).

Pastor Protection Acts — These let churches refuse to perform marriages that conflict with their religious beliefs. The First Amendment already covers this right, but sometimes lawmakers like to pass bills just to send a message. So, we have Pastor Protection Acts. Fourteen states have active PPA bills: Arkansas (HB 236, SB 120), Colorado (HB 1123), Kentucky (HB 17, HB 28), Louisiana (HB 597), Maryland (HB 16), Michigan (HB 4732, HB 4855, HB 4858), Minnesota (SF 2158), Missouri (HJR 97, SJR 39, HB 2000, HB 2040, HB 2730), Mississippi (HB 587, HB 737), New Jersey (AB 1706), Ohio (HB 286), Oklahoma (HB 1371, SB 811), South Carolina (H 4446, H 4508) and Tennessee (HB 2375, SB 2329).

Government-officials-using-your-taxpayer-funds-against-you bills — Some bills let judges and clerks refuse to perform same-sex marriages or issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Four states have active bills like this: Kentucky (HB 17, HB 14), Minnesota (SF 2158), Mississippi (HB 586, HB 1342) and South Carolina (SB 116).

No-wedding-cake-for-non-straight-non-white-heathens bills — These allow businesses to refuse to provide goods or services related to marriages that conflict with their religious beliefs. That could mean a frame shop refusing to sell pictures frames that are going to be used for a same-sex wedding, an interracial marriage or an interfaith marriage. Four states have active bills like this: Kentucky (SB 180), Minnesota (SF 2158), Missouri (HJR 97, SJR 39) and Ohio (HB 296).(It isn’t just LGBT people these bills can be used against!)

Other marriage exemption bills — These bills provide yet other kinds of religious exemptions relating to same-sex marriage. Five states have active bills in this category: Kentucky (HB 31), Michigan (HB 4733), Missouri (HB 2754), Oklahoma (HB 1125, HB 1599, SB 478, HJR 1059, SB 973) and South Carolina (H 3022, H 3150, H 4513).

God-Doesn’t-Want-Gay-People-To-Raise-Kids Bills
These let adoption and foster care agencies refuse to provide any services that conflict with their religious beliefs about marriage, such as same-sex couples. This is regardless of what is in the best interests of a child. Three states have pending bills like this: Alabama (HB 158, SB 204), Nebraska (LB 975) and Oklahoma (HJR 1059, HB 2428).

Other Generally Terrible Anti-LGBT Bills
It turns out there are too many categories for all the bills out there, but there’s a few more of note: Two states have bills (AB 1212 in California; SB 210 in South Carolina) that require public universities to provide funds for student organizations, regardless of whether the organization discriminates against LGBT people based on religious beliefs. Three states have bills (HB 325 in Arkansas; HJR 1059 in Oklahoma; and Tennessee’s HB 566, SB 397, HB 1840 and SB 1556) that let health professionals deny services to LGBT people by citing religious objections. And there’s one bill in Oklahoma (SB 1289) that prevents local governments from passing nondiscrimination protections, including LGBT protections, that go further than protections at the state level, such as the law proposed by North Carolina.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/lgbt-state-bills-discrimination_us_570ff4f2e4b0060ccda2a7a9

Here is something to remember:

In 1933 Hitler began his reign of terror by first targeting the Jewish people. He proclaimed them inferior (and therefore undeserving of the rights of other German citizens) and began a systematic stripping of their rights, beginning with firing them from their jobs and not allowing them access to services enjoyed by the general German public.

July 14, 1933, Hitler began targeting other groups, namely Gypsies and African-Germans. He stripped them of their rights by using some of the same arguments for taking Jewish rights.

October, 1934, Hitler began targeting LGBT people. Again, he stripped this group of people of the German-citizen rights by using the same arguments as he used against Jews, Gypsies and African-Germans.

When a tyrant, whether they clothe themselves in political or religious rhetoric, begins to strip away the rights of any group of citizens then all citizens need to fear for their freedoms.

As a pagan, I am very much in favor of protection of my religious/spiritual practices; however, that does not mean that I should be allowed to engage in discriminating against other citizens. If I am engaged in public commerce–such as running a restaurant, bakery, photography studio, selling books, or any other business—then I need to serve ALL of the public. If I do not want to serve all of the public then I should not be in business.

Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, black Americans could not sit at the counter of just any diner. Now, there are certain groups of people who want to bring back those laws of segregation by cloaking them as religious freedom restorations and protections. Segregation is segregation regardless of how you clothe it and regardless of which group of people you target.

If left unchecked, these laws could easily be applied to any group of citizens—
–You are Muslim and it is against my religious beliefs to serve you
–You are black and God said you are inferior and therefore I should not serve you
–You are a single mother or an unmarried couple. God does not permit sex outside of marriage and so I will not serve you.
–You are interfaith or inter-racially married and God does not want us to mix the faiths/races, so I will not serve you.
–You are Native American and therefore a heathen and since you don’t believe in my God, I will not serve you.

Here in the beautiful state of Washington, you can do your part by working against I-1515. Discrimination protects no one’s rights! Discrimination has no place in a free country.
beauty

Share

We Become What We Read

BookWingsSoarJust finished reading a book that at first glance appears to be a fun-to-read, graphic sex, romance novel. On closer inspection, however, the book is revealed to be a #novel that portrays women as weak and childlike and not only embraces but glamorizes some very damaging myths about women and relationships between men and women.

The Synopsis of the Subject Novel: A werebear cub is found in a woman’s house. The child/bear has obviously been abused. The clan leader, a very large, male werebear arrives at the woman’s house and demands that she turn over the child so he can “reunite the child” with the child’s uncle. The woman refuses to turn over the child because when the child heard his uncle’s voice at the door, he peed himself in fear.

The clan leader is so taken with this woman that he “and his bear” (his bear gets a lot of blame in this novel for violent behavior) decide they have to get her to stay at his house though she has said “no thanks” a couple of times already. Using his physical strength, he scoops up the now-changed-back-to-child werebear and starts to leave the woman’s house. When she protests, he tells her that he is taking the child (and she is human and therefore no match for an adult werebear) and if she wants to continue to be with the child to provide nurturing she will have to stay at the clan leader’s house.

For the sake of the child, the woman goes with the clan leader to his house for the clearly expressed purpose of taking care of the child. The next day, the clan leader, without the woman’s consent, has his brother break into her house and gather clothes and other necessities for her to continue staying at the leader’s house. The woman is angry when this fait accompli comes to her attention, but the leader successfully uses “his hot sexiness” to sidetrack her anger. After all, women are unable to continue to focus on complaints or issues if the man uses flattery and attention to distract them.

The leader continues to pressure the woman to have a sexual relationship with him. Though he stops short of forcible rape, he does climb naked into her bed in the guest room without her consent and refuses to leave her bed. Throughout the early part of this book, it is made clear to the reader that the leader intends to relinquish the child to a very possibly abusive male relative simply because “it is what is expected since the child is the only heir to the male”, though this is contraindicated when considering the child’s welfare. However,in order to placate the woman and entice her to remain at the leader’s house, the leader continues to foster her belief that he will assist her in keeping the child with her where the boy can receive the nurturing he needs. (His mom and dad were murdered shortly before all this and the child is only four years old.)

Throughout the novel the clan leader pushes more and more intimate contact–just short of forcible rape–with the woman though she is, at best, unsure, and at worst, makes it clear she wants him to desist. Her “no” is ignored.

Every time she attempts to leave his house, he makes it clear that he won’t allow her to take the child though he knows the child is better off with her. She continues to remain at the house for the child’s sake.

Early on in the book, the clan leader frequently loses control of his temper and begins to change into a werebear with the clear and express purpose of committing violence toward others, including members of his clan and his own brothers, for very minor infractions. Each time this occurs, ONLY the WOMAN can “soothe his savage beast” and thereby halt his violent behavior.This statement bears repeating: She is responsible for stopping his violence.

Eventually, it comes out that if she stays with him it increases her chances of maintaining care and custody of the child. She is prepared to do that; and, of course, over time and exposure she finds the man “hot and too tempting to resist.” At the end, she realizes she can’t live without him and “begs him to claim her”.

The problem with this story is not the graphic sex which is consensual and well within reason as far as roughness, and so forth. No, the problem is that this book puts forth these erroneous statements:

  1. When a woman says “no,” it really means “yes”. All the man has to do is continue to insist that she does what he is telling her to do.

  2. A man’s coercion by using the safety of a child to force a woman into a position she declines to be in, is very acceptable.

  3. A man can continue to ignore and override a woman’s decisions about her own life because the man knows what is best for the woman.

  4. A man is right to keep secrets from a woman if it is, in his estimation, better for her not to know XYZ, even though the XYZ affects her life tremendously.

  5. In stressful situations, women will always faint and need to be carried to bed and tucked in like a child. Also, they will need physical rescuing as they are unable to even use a gun in their own defense.

  6. Women are responsible for keeping men from escalating in their violence toward others. Women must “soothe the savage beast” in order to keep others safe.

  7. There is a happily ever after as long as the man is in charge. He only needs to pretend he is consulting her about her life and only tell her what he believes she should know.

These are myths about relationships, men, women, intimate communications, rape, coercion, use of children to force women to do what a man desires (this all too frequently occurs in divorces!), that need to be shattered beyond repair!

As long as literature, movies, television, and music continue to glamorize these #myths and make the actions they represent seem like the “norm”, unhealthy relationships will continue to thrive. As much as we may not want to admit it, what we watch, read, and listen to, affects our subconscious minds and implants either healthy or unhealthy beliefs.

  1. Healthy relationships respect both parties. Communication is used to facilitate respect.

  2. “No” means no. Stop. Desist. Do not continue. Not wanted. Unless it is a solid, non-coerced “yes” then the answer is “no”.

  3. Children should never be pawns in adult relationships.

  4. Women are NOT responsible for men’s violence. Men are responsible for controlling their own violence.

  5. Each person–be they a woman or a man–have the right to make their own decisions about their own lives. No one knows what is “best” for another person because we are not the one living that person’s life.

As an author, I am not only obligated to write entertaining stories, it is also my responsibility to dissect what I write and to determine its probable impact on others. I have a clear commitment to write stories that bring about positive change and which glamorize healthy relationships.

PleaseReview

Share

Divide and Conquer

together
Divide and Conquer
Women’s rights has always been a hotly contested arena. As early as the late 1800s Theodore Roosevelt noted in his Harvard thesis that women should not face discrimination, yet that discrimination has continued to the present time. “Protection” of the “weaker sex” has often been cited as the reason for discriminatory laws and practices. In 1974 in San Francisco, I was turned down for several mechanics jobs for which I was otherwise qualified. When I demanded a reason from the owners of these shops, this is the reason several of them gave: men would be so angry that a woman “invaded” their working space that they might attack me, so it was for my own “protection” that I was not hired.
Even in the areas of sexual assault/rape that discrimination can clearly be seen—women are assaulted then blamed for being assaulted. Of course, that blame is couched in “protection” language—things like if she hadn’t been drunk, she would not have been assaulted—as if sobriety has even been true protection against rape.
I recently read a historic novel by Alex Westmore, Shiver Her Timbers (http://www.amazon.com/Shiver-Her-Timbers-Plundered-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B019453TOA). While historic novels—even about pirates—are usually not my reading genre, Westmore is an excellent writer who brings the era to life. One thing that I noted in the novel was the parallels between how Queen Elizabeth used clan in-fighting to create so much chaos that the Irish had fewer resources with which to fight England’s plans of invasion.
The same can be said for women in current history. The mainstream culture uses whatever differences they can find to drive a wedge between women, to decrease their solidarity in demanding their rights.
Yes, lesbians and transgender women do face discrimination not experienced by heterosexual women.
However, it is clear that ALL women face discrimination and violence. Religion seeks to deepen the divide between women. Preachers exhort their female constituents to discriminate against lesbian and transgender women in service, employment, housing, and even bathrooms/locker rooms. (Hmmm, does this sound suspiciously familiar? Anyone recall that previously preachers—and some of them still do it—preached that God had designated the black race to a subservient position to the white race? It wasn’t that long ago that bathrooms/locker rooms were designated White and Negro.) The lawmakers on state level do their part by passing discriminatory laws aimed at the LGBTQ communities and their access to employment, adoption rights, housing, and services, some as basic as being able to sit down at a lunch counter and eat lunch. (Does this sound familiar, anyone?)
While we argue about who got hurt the worst, the patriarchy sits back and cheers us on. As long as we fight against each other, we cannot create the united front needed to overcome and defeat discriminatory laws. Isn’t it time that women band together to force the issue of our basic human rights? The right to live, laugh, love, work, and to be free from violence.
I am proud to say that I am a feminist as well as a lesbian. I fight to gain recognition for ALL women– lesbian, transgender, and heterosexual.
Where do you stand?

All of my work features women working together to overcome great odds. Visit my Amazon page for great stories that feature strong women who make a difference! http://www.amazon.com/Aya-Walksfar/e/B00CMVAKKK

Share

Gifts We Are Given

Journey you make
We all have gifts—talents, skills, even personality traits that we’re born with or have developed; usually both. We can choose to use those gifts strictly for personal gain and comfort or we can use those gifts to make a difference, however large or small that difference might be.

I come from #women who made a difference. For example, my grandmother worked in the kitchen of a large, busy restaurant washing dishes and huge pots and pans. It was a grueling, on-her-feet eight to ten hours a night then walk two miles home in the early morning dark since the restaurant closed around 2 a.m. It was the kind of job that could easily depress a person; make them angry and resentful; or just too tired to care about anyone else.
Not my grandmother.

Grandma didn’t tout her #spiritual beliefs. She just quietly lived them. Still it wasn’t surprising when the young cook and his wife brought their sickly newborn to Grandma while she was on her fifteen minute break and asked her to bless the child. Grandma laid aside the half sandwich and the cold glass of water, got up and walked outside with young Pete. She took their baby in her arms and prayed for the child and gave the little girl her blessing. I heard that the child did indeed begin a slow process of physical improvement from the night on.

Grandma was a giver of many blessings; usually in the form of encouragement, common sense counsel, a listening ear, and a caring heart. It didn’t matter if you were family, friend, or a stranger. My mother had a different type of gift. She didn’t care much for most people though she could talk anyone into almost anything. No, Mom’s gift lay with animals. Many of my short stories about animals originate in some incident with my mother. Stories such as the one about a coyote pup’s rescue from cruel men and the story about a horse standing in a farmer’s field starving, all came from instances of my mother’s courage to face down hostile humans and rescue needy animals. Vicious #dogs were my mother’s special gift. Dogs that would rather chew my face off as to look at me would sidle up to my mother and beg for her to touch them.
viciousHumanResponsible

My family didn’t have a lot of money; most days we were fortunate to have enough to eat, yet few days passed that my grandmother or my mother didn’t use their gifts to bring healing to a hurting world. From them I learned that if you have a gift and don’t use it to bring about positive change then you waste a precious resource. No other person will ever have the exact gift that you do. No other person will ever be able to bring about the positive changes that you have the power to create.

Sometimes, it isn’t easy to choose to use your gift for positive change. In my early twenties, I’d published a few short stories, some articles and a handful of poems. At this particular time in my life, I was living in an old milk van converted into a moving house. I made money with a variety of odds jobs that barely kept body and soul together. It was one of the tougher times in my life.

One night a man in a business suit knocked on the back door of my van. I picked up the pipe wrench that I kept handy for unwanted and insistent visitors (of which I’d had a few since I parked in out-of-the-way places and deserted parking lots) and answered the door. Ascertaining that the man meant me no harm, I invited him in for a cup of coffee. He sat on the passenger seat and I sat sideways on the driver’s seat as he laid out a business proposal. A friend of his had read some of my work and had been impressed with my ability with words. He had shown some of that work to this man.

Mr. Suit provided enough evidence to prove that he was indeed a successful businessman. His proposal was that I would write pornographic novels (he owned several adult bookstores and supplied a number of other outlets). He would buy them, paying me a nice advance for each novel, and then—depending on our agreement for that particular book–either the balance of an agreed-upon fee on completion or royalties. I could write under a pen name, if I desired.

At that moment in time, I had a total of ten dollars in my wallet and no job on the horizon. I turned him down. I was given a gift with words and with that gift came the responsibility to use it in a manner that would be, in some way, positive. Whether that emerged from writing an engaging story that allowed people to relax after a stressful day, or whether it emerged from the underlying ‘message’ in my stories, was irrelevant.

Since that evening in my van, there have been other times that I have been homeless, penniless, and jobless, but I have never regretted my decision. Now, many years later, I write books with strong female protagonists who make Superman look like a wuss.

My latest release, Death by Dog, opens with a street kid determined to stop dog fighters.

http://www.amazon.com/Death-Dog-Crime-Team-Book-ebook/dp/B01B5NXY4E

Death by Dog
Chapter 1
When the cold rain stopped that Wednesday, the sun peeked through gray clouds and painted the horizon over Puget Sound in slashes of orange and red. Soda stepped out the door of the First Avenue bookstore as she brushed her thick chestnut hair away from her face. It fell in waves to the middle of her back. She dug a scrunchie out of the pocket of her faded jeans then fisted her hair and tied it so that it fell under the collar of her hoodie.
Mid-March in Seattle, Washington, breathed an early spring chill on the city. She flipped her hood up then zipped the sweatshirt and stuffed her hands in the pockets. Shoulders hunched, she walked briskly south. Before long, she left the restaurants, boutiques and shops that had pulled steel mesh across their entrances for the night and entered an industrial area that had seen better times. Warehouses and abandoned buildings with busted windows hulked in the darkening evening.
The sound of rough male voices drifted across the narrow street. Soda edged into the deeper shadow of a crumbling, brick building; its windows like blinded eyes stared blankly out onto the littered street. Between the black jeans and the navy blue hoodie–pulled close around her pale face and with her white hands stuffed in her pockets–the shadows swallowed her form. Standing perfectly still, she listened as the voices drew closer. Eyes straining, she peered from her spot, trying to make out what swung between the two men.
A few street lamps–not yet vandalized–spilled watery yellow light on the dirty sidewalk and the green dumpster that squatted at the mouth of the alley across from where Soda hid. The men sauntered into the light. Soda squinted her gray-blue eyes. Her heart pounded when she finally realized what they carried.
The body of a large dog hung between them as they made their way to the dumpster. They swung the body back and forth until enough momentum had built and then let go. The animal sailed over the edge of the dumpster and thumped into the trash. They pulled off their gloves and stuffed them in jacket pockets.
The hum of traffic from several streets away sang a muted song, but the men’s voices–harsh and loud–rode over the top of it. The shorter, heavier man dug under his jacket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. He lit one and the ember glowed as he inhaled. Grey smoke drifted up toward the circle of lamp light, but disintegrated when a slight breeze puffed off Puget Sound. The breeze smelled of dead fish. “Damn, that was some sick bitch. Shortest fight I’ve ever seen.” Admiration sounded clear in his gravelly voice.
The second man was slightly taller and not quite as heavy as his companion. He accepted a cigarette and lit it. “Short for damn sure. Only thing that bitch,” he jerked a thumb over his shoulder and toward the dumpster, “good for was a trainin’ fight. Can’t believe that other’n; not even two years old, yet. Man, I want me one of them dawgs.” He snorted a laugh.
A shiver ran up Soda’s spine. She pushed against the brick; the cold that seeped through her hoodie felt reassuring.
The shorter man shook his head. “In your dreams.” He finished his smoke then flicked the butt out into the street.
A cramp seized Soda’s calf muscle. Afraid any movement would draw their attention she clamped her teeth and pressed her lips together, willing herself not to move.
“What you think one of them dawg’s worth?” In imitation of the other man, the taller man flicked his cigarette butt out into the street.
For a moment, he seemed to be looking straight at her and Soda thought her heart might stop.
The other man shook his head. “Way outta your league. I heard some of them cost as much as fifty big ones.”
The taller man shifted his attention to his companion and Soda sucked in a silent breath. “If I had me a dawg like that…”
The shorter man guffawed. “You wouldn’t know what to do with it. Them things are the devil’s own dogs. One of them would eat you up, bro. Come on. I’ll buy you a beer.”
They sauntered away into the dark created by busted street lights. Snatches of their words faded until only the hum of the traffic from nearby streets filled the air. A couple of minutes later, a truck roared. Soda shuffled to the edge of the cracked sidewalk and watched as a block north a large, dark colored pick up pulled into the street. She waited until she could no longer see the red of the taillights before she hustled across the potholed asphalt.
Hand on the dumpster side she let her head drop back until she stared up at the faded sky. “Why am I doing this? It’s not going to change anything. She’s dead, or they wouldn’t have thrown her away.” A lump swelled in her throat. She swallowed hard. Taking a deep breath, she pushed her thin shoulders back and straightened up to her full five-foot-five in an effort to steel herself for what she knew lay in the garbage. With an exhale, she clambered up the side of the dumpster. Balanced on the inches-wide lip of cold metal, she stared down as the odor of rotted food wafted up to her. Pale light glinted off black plastic bags of garbage.
The dog had landed on top of several black bags. “You poor dog,” she said as tears quickened in her eyes. She readied to hop off the metal container then stopped. Holding her breath, she leaned forward. A faint movement caught her eyes.
Without hesitation, she dropped into the garbage and waded to the animal. One dark eye blinked slowly up at her. “Poor baby.” She eased down close to the dog. Papers rustled and a puff of something rancid reached her nose. She ignored it. Gently lifting the dog’s head, she scooted her legs underneath and laid the big head on her lap. A whine whispered from the dog. With light fingers, she stroked the dog’s face between gaping wounds. At least, the bleeding had stopped. A pink tongue slowly snaked out and rasped along Soda’s hand.
Even in the faded light from the street lamps, she could tell that the dog’s coat had once been a sable color, a mix of light brown and black hairs. Now a spray of drying and dried blood matted the fur with dark splotches. One of the muscled forelegs had been gashed and the muscle ripped open. The jagged point of bloodied bone jutted out of the skin. The dog had once been a beautiful animal with a well-built body that looked bigger than most German Shepherds that Soda had seen, but it was definitely a German Shepherd. She’d always loved the regal look of German Shepherd dogs.
Another shuddering breath pushed the dog’s ribs up and down. Soda swallowed back her tears as she recalled a lullaby that her mom had sung to her when she was young and had awakened from a bad dream. She petted the dog’s big head and stroked her side as she sang in a quavering, soft voice. Before she’d finished the song, the dog licked her hand once more, looked into Soda’s eyes and breathed her last.
Tears coasted down her cheeks as she wiggled out from under the dog’s head and laid it on a pillow of garbage. She reached out and stroked the still side. “Maybe you’ll see my mom when you cross the Rainbow Bridge, girl.” Jaw clenched, she struggled to her feet. With the sleeve of her hoodie, she scrubbed the tears away.
She had always loved dogs. Had one that had died a month before her mother died of cancer; a little dog shelter mutt, but Soda had loved Cindy. After her mother passed, she was glad that Cindy had died of old age first. She couldn’t have taken care of Cindy while she lived on the streets and she wouldn’t have left her dog alone with her abusive stepfather.
Fists knotted at her sides, she vowed that even though she was only a street kid she’d do something! She didn’t know what, but she would do something to stop those assholes from slaughtering any more dogs.

What gifts do you have? How are you using your gifts? Leave a comment. I would love to hear!
PleaseReview

Share

Book Report on Books I’ve Read

Death Comes E-Calling by Leslie O’Kane (Cozy Mystery)
An e-card designer and mom with two children returns to live in her hometown while her husband works overseas for a year. She receives a mysterious and urgent letter from one of her old teachers asking her to visit. Before she can visit, the elderly woman dies. Was she murdered?
Some nice twists occur that involve the designer’s previous classmates. Returning to your childhood home and reconnecting isn’t always fun.
For a cozy easy bedtime read, I’d give it a 3.0.

Seven Daughters by Jessica Lourey (Paranormal)
A bit slow starting. Deals with long standing grudges between two families in a small town. There is an underlying thread of witchery that makes the story intriguing.
For a witch novel easy bedtime read, I’d give it a 3.3.

Lodestone (Witch Hunt) by Wendy Scott (Paranormal)
This witch story hooked me right away and kept me reading. Sabrina is a likeable young witch who faces challenges far beyond her. The author made this character a complex mix of strong/weak; naive/wise. An enjoyable character. If you like witch stories, you will enjoy this one.
A 5.

Circled by Anne McAneny (Murder mystery)
The death of a young girl, Macy, sets into play a string of tragedies that span more than a decade. Protagonist, Chloe, is an interesting, complex character. The story is a tapestry of past and present with unusual characters that kept me reading.
It may be a little confusing right at first, but even then it hooked me. The ending is surprising and well-done.
A definite 5.

Dear Lorna by L.E. Perez (Lesbian love story)
If you enjoy love stories–as opposed to everyone jumps right into bed/romance/sex stories–you will enjoy this one regardless of your gender preference. A surprising book with a bit of a convoluted beginning, but well worth the effort to continue as it soon becomes clear why the author chose this particular writing style: it brings the story alive.
No sex, no graphic violence, but a feeling of how love can grow, be misunderstood, get all tangled up in our fears, and heal in spite of everything.
I strongly recommend this book. A definite 5.

The Trouble with Dying by Maggie LePage (Paranormal)
Faith is dead, but will she stay dead? With help from her Gran’s ghost, Faith must navigate the world that lies in between life and death. The story is told from a coma/potential ghost perspective which makes it a bit different than most stories like this. A love story with a twist.
A nice 4.

Rating of the books from most to least enjoyed:
1. Dear Lorna
2. Circled
3. Lodestone
4. The Trouble with Dying
5. Seven Daughters
6. Death Comes E-Calling

I don’t rate books below a 3 star. If the book, in my opinion is less than a 3 star read, I avoid rating for several reasons: (Most of the time, I avoid reading it, too!)
a. It may simply be a matter of taste. If I had to rate some books, they would be in the negatives. And, that may not be fair to other readers who might enjoy those books.
b. An author works hard to write a novel. If I truly feel the novel lacks in some areas of craft, I will personally write to that author and detail my issues with her/his book. The author gets a heads-up without getting slammed on Amazon. Unfortunately, there are enough Trolls out there willing to rate books at a one star when they have never even read the book–just bought it so they could be “verified” purchasers then returned it immediately for their money back.

PleaseReview

Though life is busy, please take a few minutes after reading a book, hop over to Amazon and drop a review. Reviews do not have to be complex, detailed monsters–just two lines about something you liked in the story. Amazon also makes it a bit easier by having easy-to-click buttons for things like Characters–Flat, Developed, Complex and so forth. After clicking those, add in your two-lines and give it a star rating and you’re done!
The reasons I specifically mention Amazon:
a. Many advertisers only count reviews posted on Amazon. These advertisers won’t look at a book unless it has a minimum of ten reviews–usually they want more than that–with a total of 4.5 star rating. Without access to advertisers, Indie Authors are hard put to get their books noticed by the reading public.
b. When a book gains 50 reviews on Amazon, the book will begin showing up in several of Amazon’s feeds. These feeds get the book in front of the reading public.

Share

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: