Operation Homostead & Dooflingywhatsit

While I’m battling The Change of Life, we are also dealing with A Change of Life. Major changes on the horizon, all of which we have chosen for ourselves, which of course, makes it easier to weather.

Our decision to make homesteading our goal, had to begin with all the preliminaries. Where? When? How?

We know we want to settle in central Wisconsin, mostly because Melissa is from that area, and around Chicago, and her family is all there. She needs to be close to her grandmother, who is well into her 90’s and has had some health scares. 

But Melissa has always loved the Northwoods, and so, I agreed this was the destination. As a writer, I can work anywhere, as long as I have a home base and the things I need to function. And i prefer colder weather, and my allergies absolutely hate it here. We are also anxious to put some distance between us and all the red-state-confederate-flag-waving-bubbas that are plentiful in this state. I am well and truly done with the south this time. Especially after this last election.

In anticipation of our new journey, we have created a YouTube channel to document our progress. We hope to make our first video on Operation Homostead today or tomorrow. (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG1hYJmPxxCJymAxvA_zh7g )
We’ll get a unique URL after we have 100 subscribers. So pop over and subscribe! And don’t forget to check out my catalog of books while I am on a hiatus from writing. I’m hoping once we get in the trailer and on the road, I’ll have the time and the mindset again to get back to it. Burnout is a real thing.

Zombies1_3DBookcvr_whitebakAnd then there’s Melissa, with her budding writer-self–she has already put out her first episode in Lesbian Zombies from Hell. She wants to finish up episode two and get that out as soon as possible. I’m very proud of her, and i think she has fantastic potential as an Indie Author.
But we’ll have to get some things done so that we can both sit down and focus on writing again.
So, toward the goal of a homestead, it occurred to me that just moving to a rental place up there and dealing with switching everything, paying deposits and hook-ups for utilities and such, it would just be another money-sucking situation, that we would rather spend toward getting our land. I finally realized that the most obvious solution was to get a travel trailer and just go upt here and park it at a KOA park, and then we would be free to search for a homestead without making expensive trips and doing everything from a distance. We both agreed we could live that way if it was toward our ultimate goals and would get us there faster.

The search was on for an affordable travel trailer, using the money I had saved toward buying land. It’s a calculated risk, but i feel like it was a wise one. Within about a week, we found a salvage trailer at Colaw RV in Carthage, MO. We bought it, pulled it home. But then we discovered we couldn’t park it in the driveway as we planned (the best laid plans of mice and WOmen). As of yesterday, it is parked at a storage facility nearby. Thanks, Deaton Storage! We named her Dooflingywhatsit, and we will be painting it on the side. LOL).  We’ll have to go back over there today or tomorrow to fix a few of the stabilizers, and do a few things initially; make a trip to Walmart for some tools and supplies.

In other news, after the trip home, and then to storage, we have become convinced that we need to skytreesM&Ava_IMG_0937_sm_crop2trade in the Avalanche for a 3/4 ton truck, just to be safe. I’m afraid we’d put too much strain on the Ava. So although we think of this truck as one of our pets (LOL. I know), we’re going to have to let her go soon. Sniff sniff. We have to let go of things to embrace others, right? We want to do things the right way, and so it’s a process.

I can’t believe i actually got the truck and trailer in our driveway TWICE, both forward and backward. But we couldn’t keep it there, and then i couldn’t get it out, because there was so little maneuverability there. Had to call on the expert services of our friend and neighbor Mary Pinkley to get it out and give us pointers. Thanks Mary!

Then, when we took Dooflingywhatsit to storage, we had to find the safest route through these curvy, hilly streets, and then i had to get it in a ten foot wide parking spot. It took a long time, and more stress and frustration. Jeez. It doesn’t seem like rocket science, but it was surprising how much i didn’t know about backing up a trailer. There are nuances there you never even think about, until you try to do it. I think Melissa and I will be taking a class on parking a trailer and all the setup and such, so we won’t end up in divorce court. LOL.
In fact, this whole thing is a big learning curve. I have always prided myself on being competent in most things, but this has made me feel like the village idiot, and I’m afraid i have been very irritable and stressed about it. I’ve got to get my brain-framing going, and find a way to be more patient with myself and not contribute to the arguments that come up when we’re both standing there going,
“How the hell does that work?”
“Don’t ask me, I have no idea.”
or while trying to back up:
“Go left.”pexels-photo-196666
“Which thing? the back of the trailer? The back of the truck? My tires? or the steering wheel?” (After
all that, we watched a video to learn the proper hand signals and mindset for parking a trailer).
It will indeed be an adventure, but it could be stressful and negative unless we find our Zen about it. You’ve heard the old-dogs-new-tricks thing, right? Well this old dog is also really bad at being bad at something. I have an aversion to not-knowing. So, bring it, O’ Learning Curve Spirits. We have gloves on, and our jaws set, feet planted.
More to come.
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So last night, we got in bed and were reading, trying to relax after our incident with smacking into a deer on the way home. While ironically reading about prepping for various disasters and emergency situations, I felt a little tickle near my ribs. My first thought was that it might be a member of the arachnid species, but my mind immediately soothed, It could just be a wayward cdd5e4b3e380b32d2b6a03d01a67eb9ehair, or a cat’s tail, or Noodle’s whiskers.

With impressive constraint, I pointed beside me. “Baby, is there something in the bed right here?”

Melissa looked down and simultaneously shot out of bed, while saying, “Oh shit!”

Well there was my answer right there. And the only thing to do was jet out of bed myself. We stared at the bed in horror. The spider had skittered away. At the foot of the bed on the floor, she spotted it. Casting her eyes about for some spider-worthy weapon. It turned out to be the copy of Clan of the Cave Bear she had in her hand–which, she insists, is the solution for all survival situations. She used the back of it to smack the little brown recluse that was likely part of a spider-cabal we have around here. Problem solved.

That one, anyway.

Now there were the nagging questions. Was that the original spider, or just one of his leggy friends? And since we’d seen three spiders in as many days, we wondered if perhaps there were several of them in the room with us.

Resolute, she headed back to bed, while I hovered in the doorway, chewing a nail.

So out came the peppermint spray, and she misted all around the bed while I considered the wisdom of taking a peppermint bath. If spiders were repelled by peppermint, I thought it might be a good idea to douse myself in the stuff.

I mused about moving to another house, but one never knows if there would be spiders everywhere else we went. It took quite a lot of cajoling to get me back in that bed. I even considered sleeping in the recliner. But she pointing out, there might be a spider there, too.


Her theory about recent spider-sightings was that she had sprayed peppermint all around recently, and they were all trying to

get away from it. Unfortunately, their escape led them right into our warm bed.

We shook out the sheets, and pillows, and I made sure to peek into the pillow cases, just in CASE.

I felt no further tickling, and as the fog rolled in outside the windows, I reassured myself that the trauma was short-lived and that one day, I would simply have to accept the fact that we would deal with various lifeforms that didn’t meet with our approval.

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Thoughts on The Thief of Time by John Boyles

book-1031359_640I have missed sitting down with a physical book and reading. My recent decision to take a sabbatical and just allow myself to be creative and deadline-free, had me standing in front of my fiction bookshelf, seeking something new. Something enjoyable.

As most of you know by now, I have become quite finicky about my fiction reading. I read so much of my own work in pumping out work in the last ten years, that I have had little time to read for pleasure, and when I do, it’s inevitably just before I go to sleep, and by then, my brain is tired, and I tend to fall asleep after a few pages, or if I’m lucky, a chapter. But now, I had no such limitation. I could sit in my recliner in the middle of the day, bold as lime-green neon, reading.

The first book that tweaked me from my shelf was John Boyne’s The Thief of Time.

John Boyne has become internationally known for his acclaimed novels Crippen and the bestselling thethiefoftime_boyneThe Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Now, for the first time in the United States, comes the book that started the career of the author that the Irish Examiner calls “one of the best and original of the new generation of Irish writers.”

It is 1758 and Matthieu Zela is fleeing Paris after witnessing the murder of his mother and his stepfather’s execution. Matthieu’s life is characterized by one extraordinary fact: before the eighteenth century ends, he discovers that his body has stopped ageing. At the end of the twentieth century and the ripe old age of 256 he is suddenly forced to answer an uncomfortable question: what is the worth of immortality without love?

In this carefully crafted novel, John Boyne juxtaposes history and the buzz of the modern world, weaving together portraits of 1920s Hollywood, the Great Exhibition of 1851, the French Revolution, the Wall Street Crash, and other landmark events into one man’s story of murder, love, and redemption.

I was intrigued by the idea of immortality, and the jaunt through history from the perspective of one person. I always try to read other works that cover similar themes I address in my own books, but usually, it’s nonfiction. I have several books that explore time-travel, historical detail, and http://viewbook.at/NHW1Keepersimmortality (such as my New Harbor Witches series). But no matter how intriguing the subject, I simply will not read poorly-written fiction. I was at once intrigued and delighted by the command of language I found on just the first few pages of this book, and so I jumped in. So far, it has maintained my interest 60 or so pages in. I thought of my friend, T.T. Thomas–an impressive Indie author who writes historical fiction, and wondered if she had read it, and if not, I thought to recommend it, but as is the case with many of my reading endeavors, I can enjoy a book for a time, and then it seems the author loses command of the material, or otherwise begins to disappoint me, so that I inevitably put the book down and move on to something else; thus I decided I should wait until I’d read the entire book, before recommending it. I still hope this won’t be the case with this novel, and I found myself checking the reviews, to see what other readers thought of it. I was surprised to see a rather stark response on the spectrum. It seemed readers either hated it, or loved it. I wondered if maybe this was going to be another of those novels I begin and then reject as it loses its way.

I also wondered if the less than universal voracious appetite for this book was largely due to the correcting-1870721_640dulled palate of modern readers. My career has depended upon genre fiction, and there are certain tropes and expectations that must be met in order to maintain that readership. While I always try to defy those expectations in a fresh way that will still keep the reader interested, it’s a precarious balance, and I struggle with the idea that American readers suffer from a sort of dumbing-down. This concept bleeds into our everyday lives, perhaps most notably, in our politics. I never want to contribute to that, but as I pointed out, I also don’t want to become another hack who doesn’t take the craft seriously. So I try to read above my skill-level.

Unfortunately, I do not find most “literary” fiction interesting or even good, and The Thief of Time appears to be in this genre. Some exemplary quotes to illustrate this might be:

“The history that one can create with a friend, a lifetime of history and shared experience, is a wonderful thing and shabbily sacrificed. And yet a true friend is a rare thing; sometimes those whom we perceive as friends are simply people with whom we spend a lot of time.”

“The moral of the story”, he repeated, leaning forward and placing his hands flat on the desk in front of him, “is that every so often a natural disaster comes along, an act of God, and it blows all the dust away and when it does people can see that whatever’s left underneath ain’t so pretty. You get it?’”

“The problem with today’s young people,” I said, “isn’t that they do things which are bad for them, as so much of the media likes to think. It’s that they don’t do these things right. You’re all so intent on getting off your heads on drugs that you don’t think about the fact that you could overdose and, to put it plainly, die. You drink until your liver explodes. You smoke until your lungs collapse beneath the rot. You create diseases which threaten to wipe you out. Have fun, by all means. Be debauched, it’s your duty. But be wise about it. All things in excess, but just know how to cope with them, that’s all I ask.”

“And I am not one of these long-living fictional characters who prays for death as a release from the captivity of eternal life; not for me the endless whining and wailing of the undead.”

The voice of the main character,  Matthieu Zela, is engaging, intelligent, thought-provoking. This is one of the primary elements that will keep me turning pages, no matter what genre I’m reading.

Thus, I will continue to read The Thief of Time until I find a compelling enough reason to stop. Either way, there will be value in it, for as a writer, I benefit from filling my reader’s mind with well-wrought language. Garbage in, garbage out.

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That Whooshing Sound

message-in-a-bottle-413680_640Message in a bottle… After almost two years of struggle with the vicissitudes of Indie writing and publishing, I have, I believe, come up with a solution to all that has been vexing me, and keeping me from reaching the goals I have been working so hard to achieve, and all that has annihilated the joy to be found in the journey.

With the new lease on life I got after my return from New Zealand, I have been focused mostly on getting my health back, but also in increasing and maintaining the momentum in my career, which I didn’t want to lose. I’ve invested so much in it.

But I had convinced myself that I had to be a Type A personality in order to keep up with everyone else and have a chance in the Indie authoring and publishing world. As Shakespeare’s King Lear said, “Oh, that way, madness lies.” I hyperfocused on being the sole employee of my own company, and doing the work of 10 or 20 people, constantly chastising myself for not keeping up; for not being able to do it all up to a standard I hold dear. And all the while, I was forced to ignore everything else in my life. All the personal business, other creative pursuits, all the domestic trivia, my relationship with my wife. I wanted to enjoy the NOW, rather than living only for what comes next,fig-1272928_640

Yesterday, I was struck by a lightning bolt of revelation, when I was refilling my coffee cup, and Melissa drew up beside me and said, “Hey, I need a hug,” and as my arms wrapped around her, my first thought was, “I don’t have time for this.” And then I heard Dorothy Parker’s words “What fresh hell is this?” What had I let my mind make me into, when I allowed that niggling little dictator in my head to tell me that I had no time to hug my wife?

So this morning, when I woke, that part of myself was hovering in the scurrilous recesses of my mind, her heartbeat echoing through the labyrinthine corridors, ignored, again. I wanted to just write something. Anything, no matter what it was–still trying to find that creative space I used to enjoy. I sat down at the computer, and just started jotting down some ideas about a story I had been toying with for several years: Behind the Left: Authoring the Apocalypse. After 700 words of notes, I sat back and thought about it. Thinking of how I should have been working on the next in one of my series. And then i didn’t feel like writing anymore. And I wondered if there was irony in it–if maybe I was authoring my own apocalypse. What was it, that was keeping me from enjoying my writing these days? The answer was immediate.

The pressures of the business side of writing.

The constant battle of keeping up with everyone else in advertising, promotions, production, spreadsheets…and everything else that goes along with being an Indie author and publisher. The problem was, the business side was sucking all my energy and tainting the very thing it’s all supposed to be about. The writing. The story. The creativity.401253_10150570344882969_1758463_n

In years past, I used to write some, then work on music projects; writing songs, recording and producing them, then abstract painting or playing in the clay, firing, glazing, enjoying that process and the result, go somewhere, take pictures, read someone else’s book, and then I’d swing back around to writing again. And I got just as much done, though I didn’t release a book every month or two, because back then, there weren’t as many other Indie writers saturating the Amazon lists. Once I 3200_87762517968_1734056_nbegan to enjoy bestseller status, I had to work even harder to maintain that position. But more importantly, I ceased to enjoy every minute of it, as I had before. I img_0007had lost the joy, the satisfaction. Writing had become a means to an end, rather than a self-contained delight that began and ended with the creative process. Now, I suffer from anhedonia–exacerbated by the machinations of menopause, and the need to rebuild that broken life I found myself in after my almost three years in New Zealand, and the fallout from an ill-fated love.

But my frenetic work ethic only served to taint that beautiful process. I had painted myself into a sinister corner.

While I worked 15 hour days, 7 days a week, I was missing out on the now. Missing out on my life as pexels-photo-140945it unfolded, in favor of the life I believed was on the horizon. Always just out of reach. Out there, somewhere. John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.” And that’s exactly the quagmire I found myself in. With everything that has happened in my recent past, and with my health, and our presidential election season, and how much it sucked out of me, and the potential for devastation that is likely to occur, I had lost my way.

I had to ask myself what was most important. What must matter, aside from all those societal issues and the ideals we hold dear, is those we love, and the very real preciousness of life as we live it, not life as we will one day live it, maybe, if we work hard enough, often enough, and with as much single-minded focus as we can muster.

Over coffee, Melissa and I sat in my office this morning discussing this; our goal to move to the Northwoods at some point, in order to have the life we want, and to feel safe and secure again; and discussing what I thought I must do to correct course with my career, and our lives together. I had spent a year and half regaining a good deal of my health, and I didn’t want to wind up relapsing. More than that, I simply didn’t want to see hugging her as in interruption of my precious schedule. She deserves so much better than that. And so do I.

Knowing what those things are that allow me to thrive, I had to wonder why I had wandered so far off my path. What was the one thing that kept me from happily–joyfully– pursuing my goals? One answer was: deadlines. Those often self-imposed limits we place on ourselves. For me, it was painfully obvious but I had chosen to ignore this Screaming Ugly. I don’t like deadlines. I never have. It’s one reason I became an Indie author and publisher. I want to do what I do, the way I want to do it, in the timeframe of my choosing, and to hell with the marketplace and with what others expected. “I love deadlines,” author Douglas Adams said. “I like the whooshing sound they make as they go by.” It was time for me to get back to myself. The self I liked. The life I enjoyed.

So, here’s the plan. I am taking a sabbatical. I will spend an undetermined amount of time–perhaps pexels-photo-196666six months, let’s say tentatively–just being in my life and writing what I want to write, when I want to write it, with no deadlines. No publication dates. I will then have time to address all aspects of my life; take pictures, play in the clay, do some music, write, sleep enough, pay attention to my health, get some of those things crossed off the list that I have let go, not the least of which is paying more attention to my relationship and my wife. After this block of time, if I have books done and ready to publish, I will publish them incrementally, focusing on just that part of it, and after that, return to sabbatical mode.

It is, I believe, the only way I can regain that self who enjoys each day, and relishes the peace and creativity again. I hope my readers will be there when I emerge and offer the fruits of my retreat, but  I can no longer live each day and measure each breath by how well my books are doing on the charts. Living my life is more important, enjoying my moments is more important, and certainly, appreciating my wife to the degree she deserves, is more important.

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Heavy Cream


Says right there, it’s heavy. And yet it rises to the top.

There are heavy hearts. Heavy minds.

But it says right there it’s heavy and yet it rises to the top.

Be the cream, my people.  Be. The. Cream. #bethecream


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Whole Brain Literary Food

Recently, I posted a inquiry to my readers, about a publishing aspect of my work. All the responses were encouraging and thought-provoking, but one in particular touched upon some deeper themes. Here it is.

refe_56e5185800d7c_anc5acj7v0TO MY READERS–A QUESTION: As authors, we want to please everyone, but that’s just not possible. For instance, on my newest novella, Saturation Point, I have 4 and 5 star reviews and personal messages and emails that tell me how much they enjoyed the introspective nature of this book, and the characters, but on one review, the reviewer was bored because there wasn’t dialogue on every page, and they didn’t like one of the characters. And so it goes. I still continue to try to strike a balance, but more than that, I always try to tell a story in a new way. I never want my writing to get stale or predictable. That’s another reason why I started the Cross-Pollination Series where I combine popular characters from my books into one storyline.

There are also other considerations, such as how in the world I will keep up with writing the next book in each of my series, when it does take some extra time to compose a full-length novel. With that in mind, I’m going to be trying something to solve that problem. Since I can put out novellas much quicker, I’m going to be doing novella length books for a while–that way, I can add another installment to each series much quicker, for those who have particular series favorites. I’d be able to get a new AKA Investigations book out and a few weeks later, the next in Northwoods Trilogy, and so on through Rain Falls, New Harbor Witches, Run the Risk, etc. Hopefully, the frequency of publication will make up for the shorter length of the books. Interested in hearing from my readers about this idea. What do you think?

I would, if I were you, write what “I” wanted, the way I wanted, and in the time frame, I wanted. As an artist your inspiration is pure creative expression, from you, and then you share your story. You are either a commercial writer that loses her spark, or you are an author who creates worlds from a unique place, whether long or short, novel or novella. I enjoy books I can lose myself in. I feel their magic when I become so emerged in a literary expression that I become a part of the environment and lose myself. The length of story is irrelevant.


I appreciate that. And i agree with everything you say. I must respectfully point out, though, that writing-427527_1920unfortunately, the idealized view of my work has to be tempered by the practicalities of it also being my JOB…Thus, those of us in the creative arts, if we are to ask for payment for our creations, are under a certain kind of umbrella. I chose to do this professionally. It is not a hobby. Therefore, I MUST be concerned about the readers and what they want to see. I don’t believe i have to compromise my integrity to do that. I still honor the creative aspects and i still tell only the stories i want to tell, in the way I want to tell them. I could do nothing less and still be who I am. While inspiration is a creative expression, and storytelling is also, the implementation and BUSINESS of that creativity is a great deal of work and does also demand judicious things. Novelwriting is a WHOLE BRAIN activity. So is the publishing business. The more I understand about my readers and what they need, the better I can provide what they want, within the parameters of my free creative expression. Thank you for your insight. It’s always appreciated.
1c1a9389b4Last night a reader contacted me and told me I saved her life. That my books saved her from despondency and suicide. She said she started reading one of my books, and kept reading, and kept reading, moving through my body of work. And she was able to keep going. Moments like that serve to remind me that my work is not just entertainment or escapism, but also a method of inspiring strength, or bringing light to darkness, of revealing the beauty of the human spirit. I always try to depict my characters in a way that inspires others to move forward, even when pitted against seemingly insurmountable odds. I always SHOW, without myth or tilting at windmills, how it’s possible to rise above, and survive when bad people do bad things. I will continue to do that, because it is the core of who I am. And because the world needs that, more than I need a pat on the head, or a paycheck. But the paycheck must be considered. I just choose to find ways to honor myself and my readers, while also honoring the realities of the business, and the limits of sharing creative expressions with the public.



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Policing the Police

usa-1120579_1280UPDATE: see end of this essay for my updated remarks after learning new information….

Few things are black and white, unless you’re talking about racism. In regard to gun violence and police shootings, there are solid arguments on either side of this contentious issue which tells me once again that the truth is most often found in the middle and that extremism of any kind is both dangerous and counterproductive.

Right out of the chute, let me say that I know there are good cops out there. In fact, I believe that MOST cops are honorable, compassionate people who really do believe they are there to protect and serve.

Having said that, I have a bone to pick with those good cops. In this sense, “good” is not just a noun–a person, place or thing; but a VERB–it shows action, and a state of being. In my mind, good cops no longer have any right to complain about how they are lumped into the same some with rogue or corrupt or trigger-happy cops. They lost that right within the echo of their own silence. The police is still an old-school frat; a good-old-boy network with a thick blue line, and police officers cross this line under pain of death or at the very least ostracization and the loss of a career. But ultimately, these are squad-car-1209719_1920choices that speak to integrity and character, and those lofty ideals should never be dismissed, and indeed, we find ourselves in the environment we do because too many have chosen a career or paycheck over those principles. If good cops begin to mobilize and speak out, then police departments nationwide would move in the direction we need to go. In this case, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. It would take time and dedication, but the end result would place us back in a position of peace and trust between police and the communities they serve. There is no other way. The tumors of racism and self-serving authorities have to be cut out and discarded if we have any hope of reaching those better angels of our nature.

In tandem with the policing issues, are the gun-control issues. Just as a trigger-happy, racist cop has no right to hold a position as an officer of the law, citizens who pose a threat to the public at large, constitution-1486010_1280also have no business obtaining guns as easily as they do. The Second Amendment–let’s be clear–was intended as a way for citizens to defend the state, not themselves or their property. It was written during a time when the country was young, and the arms they had the right to bear were muskets, not AK-47’s. They were not anarchists, set on fighting their own government.

Things have changed. The United States has evolved into a different entity than it was when the framers of the Constitution set those words down.

Moreover, the President is the Commander in Chief of those militias, should they be called on. There is plenty of material to educate yourself with, and I encourage you to seek them out. Here are a few to get you started.






All that aside, if I feel I need a firearm to hunt for food, or protect myself, my property, or my family, I will have one. Or two. This isn’t me, enjoying a Second Amendment right. This is me, making a decision. That’s all. Having a personal firearm for those reasons is not part of the argument, as far as I’m concerned.

But all these petulant, authoritarian white men who walk around Walmart with their M-16’s–this is an gun-523052_1920aberration of both law and what this country was founded upon. Who needs an automatic weapon in the grocery store? What are they afraid of? Marauding melons? A bathmat blitzkrieg? And how are other members of our citizenry to feel safe when any person with one of those guns, feels he has a right to start shooting, as he sees fit? As such, i am not a proponent of open-carry, as if we are living in the Wild Wild West. And yes, there will always be those who carry firearms concealed, but at least they know they have to hide it and are less likely to use the gun, if they know it’s against the law. That acts as a deterrent for cavalier treatment of a weapon that can take a human life. And proper legislation further protects us from so many of those guns falling into the wrong hands. Once it’s accepted for everyone to walk around with guns strapped to their person, it’s that much easier to think that using that gun is also acceptable.

Regardless, I will not patronize any establishment that allows customers to parade around with guns.

This same I’m-in-charge-because-I-have-the-gun mentality leads to the sort of god-complex we are now seeing with such frequency in some of our police officers. The unfettered, unregulated ability to take the life of another human being can easily slip into a sense that you can pull that trigger by fiat, and that’s why training and education are so crucial to this situation. Keeping the guns out of the hands of terrorists and emotionally troubled and the mentally ill is only one segment in the plurality, but one that is a necessary first step in addressing the problem, notwithstanding the abject and egregious failure of Republican legislators who refuse to do so.

Another important segment of this issue, is making certain that The Dark Blue are not above the law, and are not performing their duties from a position of racism, fear or the inability to handle a crucial part of their jobs.


The recent Tulsa shooting of Terence Crutcher by Officer Betty Shelby is almost certainly a case of murder. The video shows that Mr. Crutcher was not being combative or aggressive, and in fact, was blue-light-1675687_1920merely a motorist whose car had broken down. That’s when police should have rendered assistance, not fired a bullet. Protect and serve. PROTECT AND SERVE. What’s so hard about that concept these days, that officers have forgotten what their job is? A badge should never afford you a free pass when taking the life of another human being. While I was gratified that the officer in question was arrested for manslaughter, I have little faith that she will be found guilty and made to pay for her crime, as officers in these cases seldom are.

The police shooting in Charlotte is a bit murkier in the fact-department, but still smacks of police corruption and another trigger-happy cop with poor training.

My wife and I have been watching that video taken by Mrs. Scott, often stopping it and playing it slowly, frame by frame. The more I watched it, the more I felt that things just didn’t add up and certainly didn’t jive with what the police and other city authorities were reporting. Perhaps releasing the police video would help clear up some of these questions, perhaps not, but they should be released, and not doing so, only exacerbates the sense that police are corrupt and untrustworthy. Until some clarity can be offered, nothing is clear. In watching the video released by Mrs. Scott, I had lots of questions and concerns.

First, the police officers weren’t there to confront Mr. Scott, but to serve a warrant on someone else. Yet somehow, they were suddenly hyperfocused on him, as he sat in the car, waiting for his child to be dropped off from school, while his wife ran in the house to get her phone charger. Somehow, officers were all over his car treating him like a bank robber they had been chasing, and never took the opportunities to deescalate, or give Mr. Scott a chance. His wife told the police he had a TBI and had just taken his medication. It just seemed like the cops were determined to kill this man no matter what.

Also, since the first police vehicle was unmarked, it’s possible Mr. Scott thought he was being robbed or carjacked, or maybe he just didn’t know what was going on, at all. He was on medication that caused confusion, after all, which the cops were told quite loudly by Mrs. Scott as she approached the scene with her cell phone recording; they apparently ignored her.

By the time the second police vehicle arrived, Mr. Scott was probably afraid HE WOULD BE SHOT and didn’t want to get out of the car. UNDERSTANDABLE– look what happened.

Additionally, both police vehicles were far too close to Mr. Scott’s vehicle for cops to have safe and nonviolent options.

Also, before and just after the marked police SUV arrives on scene, (and I have yet to hear anyone else point this out) the cop in the red shirt is lounging nonchalantly at the side of Mr. Scott’s truck, with no gun drawn and no sign in his body language that there was any danger– and he was standing right there, able to see in the cab of the truck. If there was some issue of concern for the other police officers, they could have stepped back and spoken to Mrs. Scott, and cleared up any confusion. Instead, cops went directly into lethal force mode.

Then, after Mr. Scott was shot, he was lying on the ground in an inexplicable position that didn’t make much sense. How did his body get way back there, when dash cam and another police body camera reportedly showed he was obviously confused, and stepping backward AWAY from officers when he was shot?

Then, in the initial frames when cops were cuffing the dying Mr. Scott, there is no sign of the gun on the pavement. Then, the gun is reportedly (and if you look closely, visibly) being guarded by the cop in the red shirt, mostly hidden by that officer’s left foot, behind and to the right of Mr. Scott’s body; then the alleged gun appears in a different spot perhaps 4 to 6 feet away from its original location, directly in the  foreground near Mr. Scott’s feet.

Evidence like that is never to be moved at a crime scene, so how come the alleged gun suddenly appeared and then ended up in a second location seconds later?police-275875_1920

Also, it was a terrible decision for city officials to dispatch police in riot gear and the National Guard. This in no way showed they heard, understood or sympathized with what the people were protesting. Add to that, the police decided not to release the video from dash cam and body cams just makes them look like they’re hiding something. It’s entirely plausible that the gun was planted to cover up a bad shooting–this has been documented as a method used by police in order to protect themselves from responsibility. Some officers carry an extra unregistered gun for just that purpose.

This is not the first, and sadly, it seems, won’t be the last time another person of color will die at the hands of overzealous, untrained, careless and racist cops. When will the good cops speak out? When will our Republican legislators pass the reforms needed to stop this trend? When will voters do their civic duty and cast a vote against this sort of corruption?

Ihandgun-231696_1920 cling to the hope that at some point, those with power will step up and say no. No more. Until then, more innocent people will die, and more corrupt authorities will enjoy their positions of power.


UPDATE: since i wrote this blog, two more videos were released by police. It cleared up several things for me. First, Mr. Scott wasn’t in that white pickup, he was in the white SUV to the left of that. (Still doesn’t explain the red-shirt cop being so cavalier when Scott was supposed to be wielding a gun). The other elements i might mention fall away in favor of this very clear impression: Mr. Scott was murdered by police.

He was not being aggressive, he was walking backwards toward the officers, as commanded, and them BAM BAM BAM BAM.

No matter how police might try to spin it, there was no legitimate reason to shoot him. I have ZERO faith that the officer who pulled that trigger four time will face justice. Like all the others, if charged and tried at all, he will not pay for his crime. I’d love to be proved wrong on this, but i don’t expect to.




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'I'm having trouble sleeping. Here's why. I need to say this. And I need you all to hear it and share it. People. Please educate yourselves. Please. This election is no longer about politics. No longer about left and right or republican or democrat. It's about the people. The people who are running for the highest office in the land and the people who will be voting for them. If Trump is elected, you will no longer have to worry about the economy or equality or the minimum wage or your right to bear arms or justice system reform or immigration or gang violence or gun laws or climate change. You won't have to worry about these things because they will be rendered moot. They will no longer matter. Do you hear me? They won't matter at all. Because trump will behave as he always does and he'll piss off the wrong dictator who will then annihilate us with Nukes or biological or chemical weapons and the world as we know it will be gone. Forget the zombie apocalypse. Think #trumpocalypse. The only way you can stop this is to vote for Hillary. Even if you don't like her. Even if you think she's crooked. Is your opinion of her more important than the very survival of the human race? Make no mistake. That's what we're staring down the barrel of. I have so many more books to write, so much more love to give, laughter to share. So please don't cast your vote for ending us all. You can always get your type of candidate next time. For now, let's just save ourselves from Armageddon, shall we?'

Posted this last month on Facebook, and it’s still true, and bears posting again.

I’m having trouble sleeping. Here’s why. I need to say this. And I need you all to hear it and share it.
People. Please educate yourselves. Please. This election is no longer about politics. No longer about left and right or republican or democrat. It’s about the people. The people who are running for the highest office in the land and the people who will be voting for them. If Trump is elected, you will no longer have to worry about the economy or equality or the minimum wage or your right to bear arms or justice system reform or immigration or gang violence or gun laws or climate change. You won’t have to worry about these things because they will be rendered moot. They will no longer matter. Do you hear me? They won’t matter at all. Because trump will behave as he always does and he’ll piss off the wrong dictator who will then annihilate us with Nukes or biological or chemical weapons and the world as we know it will be gone. Forget the zombie apocalypse. Think #trumpocalypse. The only way you can stop this is to vote for Hillary. Even if you don’t like her. Even if you think she’s crooked. Is your opinion of her more important than the very survival of the human race? Make no mistake. That’s what we’re staring down the barrel of. I have so many more books to write, so much more love to give, laughter to share. So please don’t cast your vote for ending us all. You can always get your type of candidate next time. For now, let’s just save ourselves from Armageddon, shall we?


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Medical Mystery Tour

thinker-1294493_1920I have had the strangest developments, lately, with my health. After recovering around 75% of my adrenal health after a year and a half of intensive work on my adrenal exhaustion, and after going into and now being in full-fledged menopause, i now have a mystery on my hands.

First, I have been taking synthroid/levothyroxine (T4) and liothyronine (T3) for 16 years, since diagnosis of Grave’s Disease, and ablation of my thyroid with Radioactive Iodine (RAI). This procedure renders the thyroid gland DEAD, and the thyroid medication then normalizes the subsequent hypothyroidism that results from the dead thyroid.(NOTE: T3 is made from T4 in the body, but some people don’t convert the T4 to T3, and I was one of them. I did fine on T3 for all these years.)

Recently, I started having the symptoms of too much T3, and so i stopped taking it and felt much better. I assumed that meant i no longer needed the T3, and suspected, since it coincided with my adrenal recovery, that my adrenals needed the extra help from the T3, but when they got stronger, no longer needed it. Fine.

Now. I have suffered severe allergies for the last three years, to include a daily sinus headache, sometimes to the point of incapacitation. (I was tested at an allergy clinic and the results showed i was allergic to almost every tree pollen and grass. I never had allergies before, and there is a direct correlation between adrenal exhaustion and severe allergies, among other things). In the last few weeks, however, my allergy symptoms have almost disappeared, easter-1238348_640along with the headaches, but here’s the weird part. While this relief of allergy symptoms came on the heels of increasingly recovering adrenals, it also happened after missing quite a few doses of my thyroid medication (T4). I found an article that said there was a direct connection with allergies and synthroid/levothyroxine, and that patients with this reaction should switch to one of several other types of T4 replacement meds. So i wondered if maybe my allergies had been caused by the synthroid/levothyroxine. Just to test this, i took my T4 and the allergies reappeared. I stopped taking it a few days and the allergies disappeared. So i stopped taking it for 5 days, allergies went away. Started it again, allergies came back. Stopped taking it 7 days, same thing. So this testing, though anecdotal, does seem to indicate there’s something to the allergy/T4 connection.I know this is anecdotal, on my part, but still. It’s significant. That’s not even the weird part, yet.

When you get RAI, the thyroid gland is DEAD. It no longer functions. It does not produce T4. Therefore, missing a dose of your thyroid meds will give you symptoms and eventually, those  symptoms will worsen. But in all those times i went that many days without the T4, i actually felt better BEYOND just he relief from allergies. I felt almost normal again. I had none of those low T4 symptoms and in fact felt better without it in general. Now tell me, how is it possible that I can feel BETTER (the allergy issue aside) when my dead thyroid is not being treated with replacement meds for the T3?

I tried to look up the information–can a dead thyroid, perhaps, reanimate? Did my thyroid only get  PARTIALLY destroyed, but this was masked by the adrenal exhaustion, and when that got better, the thyroid gland recovered in some way? It’s baffling. I don’t understand how i can feel better when i DON’T take my meds, since the body REQUIRES he hormones the thyroid makes, and as in the past, missing only one dose was felt immediately with those low T4 symptoms.

It’s also perhaps important to note that adrenals, thyroid and menopause are all hormonally-related things.

An additional bit of mystery, which may or may not be connected: While on my program to heal my shake-677437_1920adrenals i took a wide range of supplements to strengthen them, and then worried that since there were grasses in the shake i was drinking, it was affecting my allergies, so i stopped taking the shakes, and felt better all the way across the board, so guessed my adrenals didn’t need all that anymore, and/or some of what i was taking might have conflicted with something else i was taking–who knows? But now, i am just getting regular exercise, continuing to eat as much organic as possible, staying away from sugar and alcohol and processed food, drinking lots of distilled water, along with a bottle of water once or twice a day with pink Himalayan sea salt (for adrenal function).

If any of you out there have any insight on this, I’d appreciate a note. I’m getting an appointment soon and will discuss with caregiver, but I’m just curious if anyone else has ever experienced anything like this.

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Run the Risk (Excerpt)

Excerpt from Run the Risk


After the death of her estranged father, a beleaguered attorney named Sierra Kipling returns to her hometown of Shamrock Cove, Rhode Island, having inherited his bar, The Risk. A much-younger town doctor, Kelsi Belmar, doesn’t know quite what to think of this 50-year-old prodigal daughter, but she intends to find out.

2} Kelsi

boardwalk The door had been left open to let in an Atlantic breeze. Welcomed, in the bar that had no air conditioning.

The low-riding sunlight dimmed, and I turned. The light had been cut by the shadow in the doorway.

As she stepped in, the first thing I noticed was she had a cat on her shoulder. Not a tattoo of a cat. A real cat. It seemed to be holding on easily with its feet, balanced by its tail wrapped around her head, the tip of it stroking her eyebrow.

Then I focused on her. I usually notice the woman first, and not whatever she’s carrying. But hell. There was a Siamese cat on her shoulder.

SierraKipling_RuntheRiskEven with the stern, slightly pissed-off expression on her face, she was beautiful. I’m not usually attracted to older women. And didn’t usually go for redheads. I was not a fan of freckles. But this one. She was like a fine wine. Just like the burgundy color of the tresses falling about her shoulders.

The black pinstriped pantsuit didn’t wear her, as it did with other women. She wore it. Shiny black boots clicked along the wooden floor as she advanced, her eyes making a thorough perusal of the place. I tried not to stare at her chest. Cleavage for days; graced by a teasing silver amulet dangling between her breasts.

The brown leather satchel she carried completed the picture of a no-nonsense woman who knew what she was about.

Then I realized. She must be the lawyer who was handling the final arrangements. Somehow I had expected some sweaty bald man with a beer gut and a gold watch. Not a gorgeous older woman with a cat perched on her shoulder.

She fixed vivid blue eyes on me, gave me the once-over, and then stopped a few feet in front of me, barely outside the usual personal space people adhere to. Just enough to be intimidating. To some people.

“Are you the manager?”

I chuckled. “No. Just a customer.”

She looked around at the only other person in the bar. The bartender, Quinn. A twenty-something young man with long red hair and a goatee, wiping the bar that looked already clean.

“The only customer?” she said smartly.

“It’s not happy hour yet.”

“Oh, and then that second person will fill the coffers, I suppose.”

I gave her my best eyebrow lift. Chick had a sharp tongue. I liked that.

“Sierra Kipling,” she said, by way of introduction.

“Sierra Kipling?” I parroted, knowing the name well, but never having a current face to put with it.

“Thorn is—was—my father.”

I’d seen pictures of her. The wall behind the bar was lined with them, but they were all of Sierra as a child. Except for a few. That child was all grown up, now. “So you’re not the attorney?”

“I am an attorney, yes. But I suppose not the attorney.”

Interesting. “I’m sorry for your loss.”

The sentiment seemed to make her uncomfortable. She countered with, “And you are?”

young-woman-1371899_1920“Kelsi Belmar.” I extended my hand, and she looked down at, took it almost begrudgingly. A quick shake, but firm; not limp like a fish, the way most women shake hands. Businesslike. The Siamese reached down and tried to bat my hand away.

“Is that cat surgically attached?”

“Somewhat.” She placed her satchel on the table and a poof of dust danced through the lightbeams. The cat jumped down on the worn leather and laid down. I’d never seen a cat just hang around a human. It acted more like a dog.

“What’s his name?”


I felt myself smile. “How do you keep Me-Too from running off?”

“I don’t. He just stays with me. He always has.”

“What sorcery is this?”

A grin. I’d cracked the stern barrier already. I checked out her necklace again, pretending not to be looking at those copious mounds of flesh mashed together and positioned perfectly in the purple V-neck blouse. When I looked up she was regarding me with unabashed haughtiness.

“Finished ogling the girls?”

I looked away on a grin. “Can’t expect me not to look at the display case.”

“So, that’s how you are.”



“Batting for the other team? Yes. Proudly. What about you?”

“None of your business.” She stood and moved toward the bar.

That would be a yes, I decided.

Quinn Murphy was laying out a lemon, slicing it for the drinks he hoped to be making, soon. That was going to be a crap-shoot right now. Since Thorn Kipling kicked the bucket, business had fallen away. I wondered where everyone was going to get their drink on, now. The liquor store and back home? The liquor store and to dangle their legs off some pier? I also wondered what was going to happen to The Risk, now that old Thorny was gone. I didn’t see Ms. Sierra Kipling running the place. She looked like she’d sooner perform an appendectomy on herself with a spoon. She’d probably take her leave as soon as the funeral was over.

But she was here in this bar for a reason. Maybe just curious to see what her old man had built while she was off in the Big Apple. Maybe she was going to sell the place. Probably Thorny had left it to her. I took a sip of my Yacht Club birch beer, my thumb rubbing the iconic anchor on the label. It was a local brand, and less sweet than most commercial sodas. If you’re going to drink sweet sodas, it was always healthier to just go for regular sugar, rather than high fructose corn syrup.

In a moment, Sierra returned, took a seat beside her satchel. Me-Too had stayed right there on the table, waiting on her, his eyes following her to the bar and back. She removed the umbrella from her Amaretto sour and took a sip, sighed, and leaned back in the chair.

“Long drive?”

She nodded, pressing her fingertips on the small napkin, to soak up the condensation from her rocks glass.

“So, what do you do that allows you to hang around in an empty bar in the middle of the day?” she asked.

“Oh, I’m on call almost twenty-four-seven.”

Now her eyebrow quirked. “For what?”


She looked me up and down. “Locksmith?”


She tried again. “Cable tech?”

“Wrong again.”

“I give. What?”


“You’re a doctor?”

“I’ll try not to be offended by your shock and awe.”

She shrugged. “You look too young to be a doctor, that’s all.”

“I’m thirty-five, thank you very much.” And how old was she? Forty-something? Maybe older, if I considered the slight crow’s feet at the corner of her eyes. She looked good for that age-group.

She had another sip of her drink. Pulled the cherry from the plastic sword floating in the brown liquid, popped it in her mouth, chewing. A drop of red juice glistened on her lower lip. I had to quell an urge to lick it off.

“Where do you do this doctoring?”

“The clinic, here in town.”

She was eyeing the band-aid on my finger. Probably wondering if that was the extent of my healing skills.

“I thought Doctor McGinnis ran that?”

“He retired five years ago. He’s like a hundred years old. I came here to do a residency, and decided to stay.”

Both eyebrows jumped up, then. “Why in the world would you do that?”

“Because it’s a pretty fucking awesome little town, that’s why.” It came out a little more caustic than I intended.

“No need to get your knickers in a twist.”

“It’s obvious you didn’t want to come back here.”

Her face softened. “I’m sorry…I just…never mind. It just isn’t my cup of tea.”

“You prefer the big city?”

She seemed to consider her answer for a beat longer than was natural for someone who loved the city.

“It’s where I went to Law school,” she answered.

“New York?”

“No, Syracuse.”

“You with a firm up there?”

“Not anymore.”

Cryptic. And just a little bitter. I’d have to break out my shovel. “Where are you practicing now?”

“I’m not.”

“A fancy law degree, and you’re not even using it?”

“Apparently not. I’m between jobs.”

“Maybe you could hang a shingle here for a while.” The Risk: Pub & Legal Services. Had a nice ring to it. Sort of like that Kathy Bates show, Harry’s Law. Except law and drinks, rather than law and shoes.

“Oh, I don’t think so.”

My chair creaked as I leaned back, stretched out, my fingers laced over my head. “Why not? Even small town people need legal services. Just like they need a doctor.”

She said nothing. Probably her way of ending a conversation she did not want to have. Did they teach that in law school?

“Is there a hotel you can recommend?”

“More than you’d think. We get lots of tourists. But Thorny lived in the apartment upstairs. No reason why you couldn’t stay up there.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that.”

“Don’t you have to deal with his stuff, anyway?”

She hadn’t thought of that. I could tell. Her eyes went to the ceiling. Like she’d heard chains rattling.

“I have an extra key,” I prodded.

“Why do you have an extra key?”

“Because he trusted me.” I stood. “Bring your drink, I’ll take you up.”

A deep breath later, she was on her feet, the Amaretto sour in one hand, the satchel in another, and Me-Too on her shoulder.

I led her along the bar to the door leading upstairs.

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Announcing Countdown Deals!

I will be offering book deals on a rotating basis. Right now, the Rain Falls Countdown Deal is underway. Get each book in the series for 99 cents for this week only. [ends July 5th] Just click the Countdown Deals link in the menu bar of my page for the most current one.{Click image}




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New Museletter is out!

The new Museletter is out! I’ve done something different with it, and it also includes an excerpt from museletter_screenshot 24-Jun-16 18.44Melissa Walker-Baeli’s Work in Progress. Check it out, and let me know what you think! (those on my mailing list have been sent an email)

If you’d like to be added to the mailing list, please let me know, through the contact box on this site. Otherwise, you can get the Museletter when I post it on my Facebook page.

If you prefer, just send me a PM, with your email address and your location. And if you’d like to include your profession/vocation, give me that, too. I’m always looking for those with certain experiences, expertise, and knowledge. I like to have consultants.


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New Harbor Witches: Keepers hits top TEN on Amazon

New Harbor Witches: Keepers is now officially a top ten ‪#‎bestseller‬ {happy dance}
I have always been so proud of this book, and the second in the series, Ravens, even though it had yet to get a good foothold in the market, because it’s in such a specific niche category. I do believe it has universal appeal, however, and maybe this increased visibility will help those readers find it.

My next project is likely to be book three of that series, as a matter of fact. Been toying with it a bit, and it’s pulling at me a bit stronger than the other next-in-series projects.

Here’s the After Words from Keepers:

After Words


This book was a complete departure for me, but not surprising, as I always try to challenge myself as a writer, expand my literary horizons. I’ve never even read a book about witches, but had always enjoyed TV programs about them. I did, however, always find myself saying, “that was cool but I wouldn’t do it that way” or “that would be so much better if it had some foundation in logic and genetics.” I wanted to toy with the concept that witches could be not so much magical beings, but evolved beings. Evolution and adaptation being what they are, I figured it wasn’t so far-fetched if I approached the subject from a stance that witches were merely more-evolved humans. I also liked the idea of explaining many supernatural-seeming things in the collective consciousness by way of the presence of real witches.

Any story, for me, always begins with a what-if. For this book, I asked, What if things are not exactly what they seem? What if witches do exist, but they are not able to do everything depicted in popular media? What if historical events could even be explained by the presence of witches? What if I could intertwine that history with the story I wanted to tell? The brainstorming that ensued was rather epic, and that’s when I saw the potential for this series.

And as always, I also wanted to explore more of universal human nature, more of what makes us who we are. The decisions we make, and why. The often gray areas that exist between right and wrong. The perennial battle between good and evil, and how the human spirit can always rise above.

But first, I had to introduce the main characters and provide a foundation for all the events to come.
I hope I did that with Keepers..

ScreenHunter_764 18-Jun-16 13.08



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Pooly Fall is now #1 bestseller!

poolyfall_3dbookcvr_20nov2016_300x_whitebakcleanWoo hoo!  Pooly Fall is now a #1 bestseller in its category on Amazon!
Thanks to all my readers for making it so.






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Drive-by Marketing? Really?

Refe_54dbc2e9f1034_16318077309_f8e94d7569_oA commenter on one of the sites I market to, objected to my promotions, (and I responded as forthrightly as I could)>.

COMMENTER: I am seeing “Attachment Unavailable This attachment may have been removed or the perso who shared it may not have permission to share it with you” on both is post and the immediately preceeding two previous by Kelli Jae Baeil.
Thefirst post by Kelli Jae Baeil, smells like drive-by marketing. -Three- posts following that promo post, each of which consists entirely of “Attachment Unavailable” makes it look even more like drive-by exploitation.

I wrote the rant below earlier this morning, as a general reaction to a drive-by boxed set of books volumes 2-5 with no mention of volume 1, beign promoted for special pricing which expired more than a month ago! (I responded pointedly to that, and then wrote the more general rant..)

About “drive-by” marketing: (speaking for myself..)

1. Yes, [the group members] read science fiction and fantasy, watch films and movies and listen to podcasts of SF/F, play SF/F games, attend to SF/F conventions, work on SF/F conventions, and can be interested in hearing about new books, new movies, new games, podcasts, etc.

2. HOWEVER–there are thousands of new SF/F stories published every years. There are myriad new games and new game modules, lots of films and TV shows, lots of podcasts, lots of conventions.

Promos which don’t provide any information of “why should anyone be interested in this product?” and consist of a picture and pricing (even when not out of date as in “buy during this special promo time and get it cheap!”), are NOT prepossessing marketing and not the sort of thing which tends to prompt people to play follow the link for more information, or to buy.

3. “Drive-by marketing” involve someone posting a link the way frogs leave sperm anywhere there might be a frog egg to fertilize. Among other things, it’s bad manners. If someone wants others to seriously consider looking at products, show enough respect for forums being marketed in, to at least pretend to be friendly and interested in the forum…
Perhaps I could ad “if you don’t you come off as or as a relative of, a mansplainer!”

Kelli Jae Baeli: (to COMMENTER): –I’m sorry you are having trouble with the link attached to the promotional sign for my New Harbor Witches books. The link works perfectly for myself and everyone else i have asked. I even tested this one again, to be sure. So that issue must be on your end.

I don’t normally post more than one promotion/announcement at a time. The signs I posted in a clump, are all related–as shown in the text on the signs, this book is crossover fiction, that includes characters from several of my other books, in one storyline. So I felt readers needed a convenient way to locate those other books. The signs I posted were created with love and care, and contains all the information a reader needs; it provides an embedded link to my site which gives more information, and that page has links out to the location on Amazon to buy the book if you find it interesting. It’s merely a streamlined approach that accomplishes the goal, addresses the needs of readers, and my own time management, while allowing me to get back to the actual writing.

bagheadwriter This was never intended as “drive-by marketing.” I resent being lumped into a criminal sum by your implication. As an Indie Author and Publisher, it’s the nature of the beast to post in numerous places as quickly as possible–not because I don’t care about my readers or potential readers (indeed I do! They are the reason I’ve had 17 bestsellers), but because I am competing with thousands of other writers, and don’t have the resources that traditional publishers do. My business consists of TWO employees–me, and my wife. There’s only so much of me to go around. I do the work of about 12 people, and I work 100 hour weeks. (I had a very long day yesterday; I didn’t get into bed until 6 this morning). I’m an author, editor, publisher, business manager, financial planner and accountant, researcher, constant student of all facets of writing and marketing and publishing; I’m a strategist, publicist, book cover designer, typographic specialist, webmaster–just to name a few (and that doesn’t even take into account that I have a personal life, personal business, and a spouse I also want to spend time with).

I do all this hard work because I’m an author and I love to write, and over the last 27 years, have built a career on the substantiated belief that readers want to see what I am offering as a member of the creative community.

The marketing of books (among other things, in other locations) requires notifying HUNDREDS of computer-whippedgroups at the same time, and as an Indie Author/Publisher, I have to find ways to get the book out there for my readers in a timely, informative, convenient way, while also keeping in mind the time constraints I have.

As far as engagement, if anyone asks me a question, makes a comment, I always respond, and am happy to do so. But as I’m sure you can appreciate, there’s only so much of me to go around. If I engaged every group regularly, which I’d love to be able to do, that would mean I had no time to actually write the books. And which group do I choose to engage with? How do I decide which one deserves my attention, when the list numbers in the hundreds? Therefore, I must engage when someone engages ME. And it’s ultimately ABOUT THE BOOKS and ABOUT THE READERS. Marketing is just the necessary evil to get an Indie Author’s work into the hands of readers.

But let me stress this point: your denigrating, blanket assumptions are profoundly unfair to me and to all independent writers. I would ask you: how do you think readers find books? Marketing. How do you think authors get that book into the hands of readers who are interested? Marketing. It’s a symbiotic relationship. One method includes posting to groups with members who read in the genres we write, and that present themselves as places to promote books. I hope you will keep all this in mind when you make assumptions about the character and intent of authors who publicize their work.

I haven’t heard from any admins on this site that I am doing anything wrong, and if they felt my actions were contrary to the parameters of the group, I would happily comply. It’s that simple. I only want to offer my work to those who are interested.


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Weird reflection video

Okay this might not interest anyone but us, but we were trying to take a nap and noticed ‪#‎weirdness‬ on the ceiling…a strange, undulating reflection that looked like a miniature lightning storm in a teeny cloud. After a bit, Noodle jumped on my chest and interrupted the filming. Apologies for profanity. LOL.

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Pooly Fall released in digital

CP1_PoolyFall_frcvr13Jun2016_KDP_300xJust ordered the print proof for Pooly Fall (Cross-Pollination #1). The digital copy is already at #3 on Amazon–a bestseller! It’s available NOW. Go to https://www.amazon.com/Pooly-Fall-Cross-Pollin…/…/B01GZWBJBA
Below, is the After Words for Pooly Fall.

After Words

Most of my followers/readers know that I have been in recovery from Adrenal Exhaustion since returning from New Zealand in January, 2015. This has had a detrimental effect on my productivity, and on the day-to-day composition quality of my work. Writing well has become much more difficult. But I keep trudging away, trying not to think about how my usual write-a-book-every-two-to-four-months is not currently part of the paradigm; though I will continue to strive toward that schedule as my health improves. And it has been improving lately; the intense brain fog, severe headaches and fatigue are much more manageable now, and I hope this will eventually lead me back to the agenda I used to have.

Another stumbling block has been how this has affected my enjoyment of the actual writing process. When enthusiasm takes a nap, that’s when discipline steps in. My love of writing is usurped only by my inherent need to write; it is my strongest identity marker. I can only hope that will win out in the end.

Still another obstacle, has been my personal experience with moving into full-fledged menopause. Amid hot flashes, more insomnia, and irritability, I’ve also found that my libido is comatose, and that does not bode well for someone who is notorious for writing rather detailed sex scenes in most of her books. I’ve had to steer those steamy encounters toward more poetic intimacies, rather than play-by-play descriptions of the act.

It occurs to me that maybe the problem is also partially due to the fact that there are only so many ways to describe sexual activity, and a limited cadre of vocabulary to accomplish the task. I’ve written so much of it, that each new sex scene struggles with sounding like some other one I’d written before.

Regardless, I’ve had such a hard time conjuring up any interest in writing about something I have little desire to do myself. I know it must disappoint my wife (who has been a trooper about it) but I fear it might also disappoint some of my readers. Still, all I can do is my best to deliver a quality story that keeps you turning pages, and hope that elaborate sex scenes won’t be missed so much, that it will adversely affect my reader-base.

It bears mentioning that as I get older, I also feel a need to focus on still deeper aspects of what it is to be a woman, a writer, and more pointedly, a human being—and that perspective will necessarily carry over into the characters I put on the page. Sexual activity has never been one of those facets I thought was more important than others. Balance is the key aspect of my existence these days, and that’s what I’ve been seeking in my writing as well.

To that end, I had to give some thought to where I would be taking these series characters, as they, too, mature and move into other stages of their lives. And I didn’t want to fall prey to the usual trajectory of series characters and plots becoming stale. Thus, I am always looking for changes that will breathe new life into the characters and the challenges they face.

One of those changes is the introduction of this new series of tweener books called the Cross-Pollination series, which will gather certain characters from my books into one storyline like this one. I hope it will serve as an hors-d’oeuvre; an interesting segue between the next books in any given series, while providing my readers with a little taste of those literary people they like the best, since it’s impossible for me to write four books at a time, and inevitably, I have to choose just one.

I’m sure other authors have had this idea, although I’ve had trouble finding many examples, so at least this type of book isn’t saturating the market. I like being a pioneer. Jenny Bhatt said it best: “The best fiction, for me, is that which supersedes genre distinctions and stands apart as a unique hybrid.” That’s what I try to do with all my books.

It’s also what I’m doing with my new imprint, Prismatic Literati Press. It’s diverse, inclusive fiction for all orientations. I have readers from many different demographics, and psychographics, and I want to deliver quality fiction to all of them, based not on where they live, who they love, or how much money they make, but on what their emotional needs are for the books they read.

Although I almost always have gay and lesbian characters, I seem to have entrenched myself quite naturally in books that are always nestled in the adventure genre, regardless of the other genre-elements they might possess. My goal is always a tight, logical, quick, unpredictable plot filled with challenges to flawed and loveable characters. It seems to be the core nature of the stories I tell.

In relation to Pooly Fall in particular, I am launching a new idea in marketing strategy, problem-solving, and evolution as a writer. Crossover fiction has several definitions, only one of which applies to this new series. “A crossover is the placement of two or more otherwise discrete fictional characters, settings, or universes into the context of a single story.” I haven’t read any authors who’ve done this. My wife mentioned that Jayne Ann Krentz does this in her books.

An additional quick glance at Wikipedia reveals:

“In literature, some authors also engage in crossovers by including characters from different novels they have written in one particular volume; L. Frank Baum did this regularly, and Michael Moorcock frequently uses this device – particularly in his Eternal Champion series of novels, which establish a vast ‘multiverse’ populated by numerous different characters, many of whom appear in different novels and even different genres. Kim Newman is another author who frequently uses this device, as does Stephen King. The works of James Branch Cabell, J.D. Salinger, William Faulkner, Margaret Laurence, Thomas Pynchon, Kurt Vonnegut, Mordecai Richler, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Isaac Asimov also ‘crossover’ with each other, linking different characters and settings together over a number of different works. Author Rick Riordan publishes multiple book series featuring gods of ancient civilizations in the modern day, which have had two crossovers and three references to other series.”

I’m not sure how often it’s been done in niche-markets like lesbian fiction, which has been my primary category and reader-base, but perhaps it matters little. The point is, that’s where my body of work is moving since I began doing series fiction, and I didn’t want it to be like most other series fiction.

But for me, it is more than characters merely crossing over like a cameo appearance in our favorite shows. I think of this Cross-Pollination series as Tweener books, special editions, like TV programs do when they air Christmas specials not related to the overarching storyline of all the books; except these Cross-Pollination books of mine will be related, and serve to set up the individual storylines of the next book in each series.

That aside, my biggest obstacle is which series book I will focus on next. Ultimately, it has to be the one that pulls me the strongest, regardless of which one readers might want to see first.

I am still working intermittently on Frequent Crier Miles, a trilogy that I want to spend more time than usual on, and I do want to finish the standalone novella, Saturation Point, which has been patiently waiting so long for me; and want to do it in one fell-swoop before moving on to the next series book.

It remains to be seen which story and characters will pull the hardest on me. Ultimately, an author must write what speaks the loudest to be written.

Thank you all for your continued support, and for reading. I’ll do my best to keep you entertained, rattle your cage a little, and provide hours of meaningful communion.

Kelli Jae Baeli

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Teeny Weenie Man (Free Download)

Thanks for visiting. My short story, Teeny Weenie Man can be downloaded for free directly from Kindle Unlimited, or below, you will find the links to download it from here in the format of your choice. Enjoy!






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A Toxic Person

toxicpeopleThis is precisely the thing I am living right now. I needed this reminder to hold my head high, knowing that what any toxic person might say or do to impugn me, I can choose courage and integrity, that I have the truth on my side, and that thinking, discerning people will understand that. ‪#‎TruthWins‬

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Don’t Make me Unfriend You

unfriendkeyWhen you blend your professional and personal life on Facebook, there will inevitably be instances where the two collide, and not in a good way. Some people might like your writing and be big fans who buy all your books, while they simultaneously make snarky comments to personal posts you make, regarding, say political issues–even when they are not, themselves, properly informed of the issues and the ramifications thereof. If they can’t see the forest for the trees, perhaps it’s time to stop venturing blindly into territory for which they have no map.

The hateful rhetoric in our political milieu, inflicted upon us by those like Trump and Cruz, seems to be bleeding over into the populace and should neither be encouraged, nor tolerated. This goes to the heart of what we, as fair-minded, conscientious Americans, wish to eliminate from the social discourse.

What’s an Indie Author to do?

For myself, I would rather maintain my integrity than book sales, otherwise, I just fall into the category of “sell-out,” also known as bought-and-paid-for.

So, fair-warning to those who enjoy starting arguments and spreading lies, basing their arguments on erroneous information, and generally creating an environment of vitriolic conflict, absent of thoughtful, respectful debate. You are all entitled to your opinions, but you are not entitled to lie and poke sharp sticks at everyone who does not agree with you. I will speak my mind, and if you decide you no longer want to be on my friends list or support my career, so be it.

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