Friday, December 27, 2013

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Are you on Tumblr?

Are you on Tumblr? Follow me and I'll return the favor:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Do you NaNo?

Why I'm never sure if I'll do NaNoWriMo from year to year: I'm a working writer and editor who works for multiple clients. That means I write and edit to support my family (and have for the past 16 1/2 years). Over an average month, I pump out about 2,000 words or more a day (or 60,000 per month, on average, if you count 30 days in a usual month).
In addition to my paying contract work, I also write my OWN stuff, from blogs and journals to books I'm already fiddling with, plus anything else in between...which means even MORE words ON TOP of what I already write for contract jobs.
When NaNoWriMo rolls around, if I attempt to write 50k words ON TOP of what I already write on an average month...well, that's a lot of writing. And I love writing (which is why I do it), but you can clearly understand why 50k in a month isn't a big deal for me. I'm already surpassing that just by the words I am writing to begin NaNoWriMo is, for me, an even bigger challenge because it's that many words over and above everything else I've got going on.
What I'm saying is this: you CAN write 50k a month with NO PROBLEM if you just take it as a day-to-day adventure. If you're not concentrating on, "OMG, I have to write 50k a month!" and, instead, think of it in terms of X number of pages per day or X number of words in a day, it becomes much easier.
And yes, I've decided to do NaNoWriMo in addition to my usual writing and editing commitments.  Because, you know, I DO love any excuse to write! *smile*
YOU can do it, too. ADD me on NaNoWriMo. I'm listed as elementalmuse under the participant profiles:

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What is a "real man"? For me, the definition is different

It occurred to me there's a reason why I find my husband so irresistible...and it is the same reason why I find many Asian (especially Japanese) men attractive.

My husband is confident in his masculinity without having to buy into all the tropes of what our Western culture often tells us a "real man" is or what one should look like. Often that cultural definition means he has a macho bent, is rugged looking (the typical Marlboro man vibe), drinks beer or whiskey, watches sports all the time, etc. You get the old stereotype I mean, right?

My husband does not fit any of those things, and I can assure you he is a "real man." He's straight edge, hates watching sports, and doesn't adhere to macho behavior. Oh, and he's not afraid to be romantic, either in public or private.

As for Asian men, they can dress up in androgynous clothes and perform in visual kei (ヴィジュアル系) bands looking very feminine in their makeup and wigs...but that doesn't mean they're not "real" men, nor does it mean they're gay (a common snarky comment from guys who, apparently, are uncomfortable or somehow threatened by pretty men who challenge ideas of what "a real man" should look like.)

It means such male Asian performers are confident enough in their sexuality to express themselves and perform as they wish, all the while knowing who they are without feeling the need to prove that they're "man enough" to anyone.

I, for one, am not turned off by the aesthetic of pretty men, regardless of culture. The subtle sexuality that's hinted at beneath it all is what I look for. Creativity, an artistic bent, a love of books, a more understated energy that belies a hotter intensity at the core is what does it for me. Oh, and intelligence is essential as well.

So, the next time one of you men wants to say a guy doesn't look or act manly enough, you better check yourself. That guy who doesn't like football and prefers to read poetry instead might charm your woman into the bedroom and seduce her ten times to Sunday while you're busy dissing him with your buddies.

Men come in many packages and don't fit into tidy stereotypes—just like women. What is a "real man"? However he defines himself...not how you choose to define him.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Japan’s VAMPS Hit the West with Sex Blood Rock N’ Roll | MTV IGGY

Here come my boys! Now all I need is a plane ticket to Los Angeles for December 4th and a seat in L.A.'s House of Blues for their concert.
Japan’s VAMPS Hit the West with Sex Blood Rock N’ Roll | MTV IGGY

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

[Dream of July 29, 2013] A steep road, impish statues and lush greenery

Last night I had a cool dream where I was in a car with some people (I don’t remember who), and we were traveling up a steep, one-lane road that wound around and had sharp curves. It was precarious, but still beautiful because both sides of the road were lush with greenery and featured all sorts of beautiful plants. Within the plants and greenery that dotted the side of the steep road, there were countless statues and parts of statues of all types. Some were peeking out, some were posed, some looked like they were intentionally placed there for artistic effect. The lush, deep green plants and trees/bushes grew up, over, and around the statues…it was fascinating and beautiful.

I was driving, and although I was fearful of the steep road (and worried another car would come down the hill and force us off the road or hit us), I couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty all around us as we made the trip. We eventually made it to the top of the street and up the hill, although at one point I had to stop, put the small car in reverse (it was as small as a Mini Cooper — reminded me of a European car), and carefully back it down the road a bit (not sure why). But eventually we continued our trek up the hilly road.

Once we arrived, there was a beautiful stone mansion with majestic pillars on the outside. The place had an astonishing view. We got out, but from there I don’t remember much after that.

The prevailing memory from the dream was the amazing beauty of the foliage and how the statues were cleverly placed along the side of the road, seemingly peeking out from behind leaves and trees as if they were alive and not merely made of stone. There was an impish, playful nature about the whole thing. Like the statues were alive, but shy and hiding. Like…I don’t know…guardians? I don’t know how else to capture the feel of it.

A strange, yet wonderful dream. I needed the respite from the nightmares I’ve been having lately.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A creative offers up thanks

This week I’ve been humbled by many people who’ve encouraged and supported my creative endeavors, whether it be writing, editing, creative coaching or online course instruction. It’s amazing and humbling. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Truly, my gratitude knows no bounds.

The creative journey is often a solitary and lonely journey. It’s not an easy one, and the world works against it in so many ways. Some people don’t see it as “real work,” but it most assuredly is. If it was easy, don’t you think everyone would be doing it? But they’re not.

Think of all the products, services and entertainment you wouldn’t have without the creative work of artists, writers, musicians and others who put blood, sweat and soul into contributing to those things and bringing them to life so you may enjoy and learn from them.

Creativity enhances life and exists for the betterment of us as human beings; it speaks to the very depths of our souls and makes our hearts sing. And creativity is not “pie in the sky,” flimsy-whimsy stuff that doesn’t apply to real life. All you see, hear, touch and experience began from a creative spark in some way — even if it’s a product that ultimately landed in the buttoned-down financial offices on Wall Street. Someone has to write those boring technical or procedural manuals for corporations everywhere, right? Business and creativity DO mix and creativity IS essential for innovation, change and improvement, regardless of the industry.

Creativity expresses itself in a myriad of ways, and in a variety of settings. Please encourage and support (in whatever way you can) the creative workers you may know in your own life — especially independent artisans (Etsy and beyond!) of all types. They will be grateful to you (boy, will they!), and you will be doing a fabulous thing for the world in general.

As a freelance writer and editor who has been earning a living from my words and ideas for 16 years (and most freelancers fail after a couple of years, according to most statistics), I humbly offer my appreciation to you.

There are plenty of negative and horrible things that happen in this world, but there are also many amazing and wonderful people and things that happen in this world. This past week has reminded us that Paul and I know many amazing people, and we are incredibly blessed because of it.

Thank you!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer wave of online writing courses, including my new Elements of Editing course!

I’m launching the next wave of professional writing courses, along with a BRAND NEW “Elements of Editing” online course. I‘ve been teaching online writing courses since 1997 and many of my students have gone on to become part-time or full-time freelance writers and editors — as well as published authors. If you or someone you know would like to take a course (they cost roughly $20 to $25 per week), contact me and I’ll get you set up.

You can pay for your course in weekly increments if you need to. Again, courses range from $30 for a weekend to $20 or $25 per week for a maximum of four weekly lesson presentations, handouts, instructor feedback and homework/exercises. You will get one-on-one instruction (yes, personalized instruction with me — not sharing time with others in a virtual classroom). I will bill you in weekly increments if it helps. I accept PayPal, credit cards, eChecks, regular checks or money orders. Doesn’t matter.

Even if you don’t want to take a course, you can give one as a gift and pay for someone else. Just let me know who you’re paying for. I will accommodate in any way I can. Here is the link for my course listings:

Let me know which course you want to take and I will send you the outline and instructions for setting up your payment options. You can fill out the contact form at the end of this post or email me at If you are ready to enroll, select your course and register via PayPal by sending your payment to Once your registration is received, I will send you a confirmation and instructions for beginning your course. It’s that simple! Your course will start right away.

“Elements of Editing” is a NEW course (and one I’m VERY EXCITED ABOUT!), so ask for the syllabus for that one as well. It’s four weeks long and costs only $25 per week. If you want to self-edit or are looking to break into professional editing, this is the course for you. Email me and I’ll send you the syllabus.

I’m working to update the website tonight & tomorrow. I’ve spent last evening writing articles and now I need to do site updates to include updated content, including the NEW editing course.

Thanks for taking the time to read about and/or sign up for one of these courses. Courses begin on the day you sign up. You have up to 90 days to complete the course, so it’s easy to fit into your schedule. If you sign up within 48 hours I will send you a free copy of Sun Signs for Writers AND Secrets of the Professional Freelancer as my thanks to you. :-)

Finally, I am currently open for any and all editing jobs. If you have a written document, sales copy, website copy, short story, book manuscript, academic paper or anything else, I will do a professional edit for you with a quick turnaround time for only $2 per double-spaced page (allowing for 12 pt Times New Roman font in MS WORD or similar). Email me at or fill out the contact form below and I can get started right away on your project!

Monday, June 10, 2013

If you don't "get" me, this post is for you

To those of you who don't "get me" or are frustrated at trying to connect with me. Please read and, perhaps, you'll understand. Or not. At any rate, this is how things are with me, and you can accept them or not. You cannot change the person I am or erase the issues I've had all my life. I'm pasting a conversation I had with sister Aspergirl friend, Thorne. In hindsight, I think it was meant for a blog post.

First and foremost, I am an Aspie female. I did not have a clue until last year. **And this is where I pick up from Thorne's conversation**: "After going through life and wondering what was wrong with me, and learning how to 'act' in order to get along with others (the best I can) and cope with my surroundings, it was a relief to find out there was an explanation for it. Now I just wish that some people I know would take the time to understand why I am the way that I am and not ask me to change for them.

My biggest pet peeve is when someone who is not me and who has NOT lived my life tries to tell me I'm THIS but NOT that -- and they try to act like they know who I am inside. I think I know myself better than anyone else, quite frankly, and I am most assuredly a female Aspie. I'm also very smart and I have learned to shift my behavior and I've had to learn to cope by mimicking others or learning how to respond (there are still situations where I mess it up) throughout my life. I know (Thorne) you've had the SAME problems with such things. It's very annoying! Pretty arrogant for someone else to act like THEY know you better than yourself, isn't it? Grrrr! I think I've lived in this body and with this mind for 48 1/2 years and have had a lot of experiences that they don't know about, so they can either accept that this IS me or they can pound sand. They don't get to tell ME who I am, know what I mean? I'm just thinking of the stuff you and I have discussed privately. People can be soo annoying over stuff like this. I'm glad Nan posted it and shared with me!

Like you said, this will definitely come in handy; it would be even handier if you could have a sheet that you carried around and handed out to people when they "just don't get you." You could say, "Here, read this!" They probably wouldn't, because most of them don't care enough to bother. But still, it's tempting."

I always find it interesting that people who would push, scream and cry against you trying to change them or tell them who they are seem all too eager to change YOU or tell YOU who you are or are not. What arrogance! I know who I am, I know all kinds of shit I've been through (that YOU know nothing about) and I think I'm more of an expert on ME than you are by far.

I love when I tell people I have PTSD and they try to tell me I couldn't possibly have it (like my oldest brother did). Hey, why not talk the psychiatrist who diagnosed me (along with several other issues)-- how about that? Who the hell is ANYONE to tell ME they are a bigger expert on me than I am MYSELF?! I wouldn't EVER dare do that to someone else. It's not my place, and it's not anyone else's place to do that to me.

So, the bottom line is that I'm who I am am for a reason, and if I do not fit into your tidy world view or you don't know how to "deal" or "connect" with me, that's your issue and not mine. If I cannot "deal" with someone or cannot "connect" with them (and I can be nice and congenial to most people, but I rarely feel a true and deep connection with them -- just being honest), I simply decide to keep walking my path and if we find a way to relate, that's great. If we don't, I'm not interested in forcing it into being something it's not.

I will say this -- if you have publicly insulted or embarrassed me in the past, there is very little chance I will allow you an opening to do that again. Rude, tactless behavior directed at shaming someone in front of others by drawing attention to their physical appearance is NOT a cool thing to do, and if you truly had compassion, you wouldn't think of doing that to a so-called friend.

Okay, a long post, but I needed to get it out of my system. If I've offended anyone, that's your issue. You're welcome to stay, but invited to leave if you do not understand that this is my virtual home and sanctuary and I post whatever I want on my blog without any permission needed. This place is primarily for MY expression and thoughts. You have your own place for YOUR expression and thoughts.

Also, a warning: if you are combative or mean in the comments, you will be removed and blocked. I don't think anyone will be, but just in case. :-) This is a statement I needed to make in a firm, yet authentic, way. It is NOT a post that's up for debate or examination. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming. ;-)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Witches, vampires and daemons doing yoga together? Really?!

I’m reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I’m enjoying the story and the writing, but when I got to the part about witches, vampires and daemons doing yoga together…well, I had a hard time getting past that.

Folks, can we remember that vampires and daemons are not supposed to be mundane beings doing mundane things? I long for the days when vampires and daemons were terrifying (and rightfully so). I want magick and mystery when it comes to supernatural beings, not banality and the commonplace.

I like the author’s writing and I will finish the book and begin the next one…but a yoga session with witches, vampires and daemons? I can’t go for that. As Paul said, “Let’s take something extraordinary and terrifying and make it mundane (insert sarcasm here).” Exactly. Just…let’s not, okay? Please?

Friday, May 10, 2013

One of my latest blog posts as a guest contributor for Sue Scheff's internet safety blog. Please go check it out. :-)

Pointers for Setting Up Computer Guidelines for Your Kids

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ten daily questions to ask yourself


To help focus and clarify what's worthwhile to spend my time on and to strive for more meaningful and positive experiences, here are questions I'm going to ask myself:

1. Will this bring you happiness and laughter?
2. Will you get peace of mind from this experience?
3. Will this advance your purpose in life?
4. Is this in alignment with your personal or professional goals?
5. Will this help you be a better or more evolved person?
6. Will this be worth investing your time and energy?
7. Does this add value to your life?
8. Is this educational?
9. Have you picked a worthwhile battle to fight?
10. Have you practiced discernment and/or restraint?

After considering these questions and the number of "no" responses, I can then decide -- clearly and wisely -- if investing my time and energy in something is beneficial for me. I will then decide whether to engage, participate or walk away/withdraw. I'm over the halfway point in my life.

Time to train myself to be more selective and discerning about people, events, causes and attention. Must close the circle and separate the wheat from the chaff.

Monday, April 29, 2013

You do not get a free pass for mercy or forgiveness if you are wretched and evil

No, I do not love everyone, forgive everyone or have mercy/compassion for everyone. Examples: serial killers, rapists, child molesters, etc. People do not get an automatic free pass for my love, compassion, forgiveness or mercy if they have committed heinous and/or evil acts. I'm not Jesus, Gandhi or Mother Teresa. And that's fine by me. You have to deserve such things -- and some evil human beings DO NOT.

This is why certain spiritual ideas resonate with me, and others do not. This is why, though I love Taoist thought, I am not a Taoist or a Buddhist. I am not enough of a pacifist. What I am cannot be put into a box or labeled in a tidy way. My belief system/spirituality is unique to me, and me alone. I take what works, and leave what doesn't.

I don't give a shit about the boxing career of the Boston Marathon terrorist, Tamarlan. I care more about the young boy, Richard Martin, that the spineless cowards murdered, along with the others maimed and killed. THEY deserve compassion, mercy and love.

If those two cowardly terrorists were my sons, I would never speak to them or of them again, I don't care if I'd given birth to to them. I would feel shamed, repentant and devastated. They have brought dishonor to their families because they were selfish, immature pricks. I would reach out to the victims' families, instead of spouting defiant bullshit. Their mother should get on her knees and apologize for saying she thought the bombings were a lie and the blood was red paint.

All terrorists are spineless cowards. They are usually too weak to fight face to face. Instead, they prefer to lurk in the shadows and in crowds and attack innocent people and children. They are dickless wonders without honor. Doesn't matter the country they're from or the religion they follow; Christianity has PLENTY of blood on its hands, so I'm not singling out one religion (don't start bashing Muslims on here or I'll bounce your ass for being ignorant and uneducated).

In fact, I have a strong dislike for organized religion overall, as you may suspect. My main point is this: I have infinite compassion, mercy, forgiveness and love for those who deserve such human graces. Some people do not.

Yes, I am a liberal, but I'm damn sure not the fluffy bunny type.

Embrace your divinity


Most of you know I'm not Christian. However, I am spiritual. Very much so. It is a strong fiber in my being...I am connected to the universe and beyond.

I believe there is no separation between science and the magick of existence and ALL THAT IS. Paranormal events are normal...not paranormal. We just haven't the experience and knowledge to explain or understand them yet.

You do not have to invent magickal or wondrous is all around you...and it's in every single thing you touch, see or feel. The fact that you are here, living and breathing and thinking with your brain is a calculated expression of science, divine mathematics and logical evolution.

Divinity, to me, is immanent (in other words, inherent). This is why Taoism (道) makes sense to me.

As I told my brother, Jan, "To everything there is a time and a season, as the saying goes. There is a time to let go -- this was that time. It's two sides of the same coin. Her work here was done. Now she is on to another plane of existence...but I truly believe the soul reincarnates...and if so, her spirit will be born again once more. Rejoice in the time you had with her...and know you were of comfort to her during her last days, Jan."

You must remember this: energy never disappears or ends -- it simply transforms. One day, we will all transform. It is the the way of our existence and our irrefutable destiny. It is, in fact, your birthright. Until that time, you are here for a reason; find out what that reason is and live your purpose!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The most useless customer service e-mail I've ever received (I'm talking to YOU, Barnes & Noble!)

Really, Barnes & Noble?! "We can't comment on this matter"? Why?! If you, the company itself, cannot comment on this matter or do anything about it...then who can? This is the type of stuff I've been dealing with for MONTHS regarding books that I wrote and own ALL the rights to! This has to be the dumbest, most mind-boggling response to a customer service query I've ever received. And then to end with, "We hope you find this information helpful"? Wow. I don't even know. Is it just me, folks, or are you shaking your head at this response as well? I highly doubt they can truly "feel my frustration."

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: Customer Service Mail - Order Number:Re: Mending Fences by Star Ferris - Other
Date: Sat, 27 Apr 2013 10:00:08 -0400 (EST)

Dear Bev Sninchak,

Thank you for your email.

We understand that you have not authorized Barnes and Noble to carry "Mending Fences." We feel your frustration. However, we are sorry if we cannot comment on this matter. We apologize for any inconvenience.

We provide answers to many questions posed by publishers and authors in the FAQs on our website:

If your question is not covered or you need more information, please write to us at or call (732) 656-7285 .

We hope you find this information helpful.


Mary Grace Santos
Customer Service Representative
Barnes & Noble


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sun Signs for Writers FREE DOWNLOAD through Sunday! Grab yours now!

Woot! Excellent news! I *finally* won my battle with Amazon to get Sun Signs for Writers into the KDP Select program. I've held the rights for a while, but had to go back and forth with them about it, which was extremely frustrating! To celebrate, I'm making the eBook version of Sun Signs for Writers FREE for download for a couple days! Click HERE to get it now:

The promotion ends Sunday night at a minute before midnight, so GRAB your FREE copy of Sun Signs for Writers now! Regardless of your astrological sun sign, my book (originally published in print by Writer's Digest Books) will help you break writer's block, increase productivity and fuel your creative fires. Even if you're not into astrology, you will still find inspiration in the end-of-chapter writing exercises. This is a writing reference book, first and foremost. ;-)

Here's what some reviewers have said about Sun Signs for Writers:

++ Midwest Book Review calls Sun Signs for Writers "A unique, revealing guide."

++ C. Hope Clark, author and editor of Funds for Writers:
"Bev Walton-Porter has created a genuinely fun book in Sun Signs for Writers. I read it in one sitting, a rarity in my busy and hectic world."

++ Author Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D.: "Sun Signs for Writers is one of the most helpful books you'll ever find. Buy it, read it, and set it on your shelf beside The Elements of Style, The Transitive Vampire, and the Chicago Manual of Style."

++ Ginnie Bivona, Director of Atriad Press: "...this is more than just another astrology book; I intend to suggest this book to every aspiring writer I come in contact with, it's got more useful suggestions, and concise information about how to make it in this industry than I have read anywhere else in a very long time. It's inspiring and informative, and personally I think it belongs on the shelf of every writer. It's that good."

Sooo...go download your FREE eBook version NOW before the free promo expires. Enjoy, my friends! :-) Again, here is the link to download:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Card selection for today: #48 - Zagan - Transformation

The card I pulled today from the Fallen Angel oracle card deck. Goes right along with things that are happening in my life right now.
Zagan #48 - Transformation.
Element: Fire
Planet: Sun
Message: A fundamental change is not only needed but perfectly possible if you open your mind.
Card motto: Transformation

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Buddhist Temple/Pagoda Dream

The other night I had an interesting dream that involved a longtime friend and former classmate of mine, Cyndy C. I've already shared it with her, and now I'm posting it here so I can tag it for future reference should I need it.

Essentially, we were tooling around Colorado Springs in a small car -- like a Mini Cooper -- and having lots of fun hanging out and seeing all sorts of stuff, including having lunch. We left lunch and got in the car, saw a HUGE pagoda-like building, drove up the steps (!) and parked right at the entrance. Nobody said anything to us about parking there. We got out of the car and went straight inside.

It was an open building -- no doors -- and it was a massive combination Zen Buddhist temple and marketplace selling incense, mini altar statues, Buddhas, incense burners, altar supplies and the like. We walked around, checking out the wares. We spoke with various Buddhist monks who were wandering around, greeting people who were visiting. It was exceptionally pleasant.

We were up on the massive top floor. The pagoda-like structure had a red brick-colored roof (not made of bricks, but of red ceramic tile) and there was an odd sea-foamish green color used throughout the structure -- very brushed, worn and old. The pillars of the building were painted with the red brick color, too.

We were checking out the layout of the main floor at the top when we noticed there were holes, or shafts, that led to the bottom. It appeared there was some kind of machinery down inside of them. I remember looking down into one of the shafts and asking what it was and what was I was seeing in there.

A monk told us the entire building was built on top of a large, old ship (which was the same sea-foam green -- worn and with the paint rubbed off the ship's steel hull). He said it was to honor the Zen Buddhist monks who had been on the ship when it wrecked and sank. So what we were seeing when we looked down those rectangular holes/shafts were the remains of the ship, which was what the temple was built upon. Essentially, it was an altar of remembrance to those monks who had perished in the ship accident!

That's how the dream ended...but Cyndy and I were both fascinated by the story the monks told us about the history of this place of worship. We loved the place in this dream. It was so peaceful and felt so homey. The energy was loving and accepting. Monks would freely come up to us and tell us about their history, worshipping rituals, legends and such. One monk came up to us with a large bundle of smoking incense (had to be like 50 sticks!) and it was smoking/burning. It was an incredibly enjoyable dream!

If you have any thoughts, ideas or interpretations of this dream, feel free to post in the comments. :-)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Compassion...but only for select people? Some are like that (sadly).

Reading through Facebook posts on a daily basis, I'm always struck by how so many people lack compassion for those who are going through a hard time in their lives and are down on their luck. Most of these people need a hand up, not a hand out. Most of these people don't WANT to be on welfare, food stamps, public assistance.

And what's the worst part? Many people who are the least compassionate for another human's suffering are the SAME ones who sit their happy asses in church on Sunday, listening about Jesus Christ's teaching and nodding/agreeing. Their bellies are full, they are making their bills every month (because they've never lost their job, been laid off or been downsized) and they have NO CLUE what it's like to come upon hard times.

Jesus would try to help those less fortunate; Jesus would have compassion; Jesus would feed the hungry and heal the sick (without charging them 10k for a two-hour emergency room visit).

I'm pagan (have been for 30 years!), and I have to say I've seen plenty of selfless compassion and love from the pagan community. I witnessed it first-hand after my first husband died in an accident in 2001. Funny, considering they're misguided heathens and supposedly without morals or ethics, huh?

Here's the thing: if you sit your behind in a pew on Sundays and you purport to be a follower of Jesus Christ, you better walk your talk. Don't just give lip service to it. Otherwise, you are a hypocrite and a poser who is only sitting in church to prove to others how good and righteous you are.

Jesus would not approve of such behavior, and neither do I. I'd break bread with Jesus -- he seems like a cool guy -- but I have no time or patience for hypocrites who, deep down, are snotty people that lack compassion, caring or empathy for their fellow human beings.

Quit being mean and start trying to understand. Get off your high horse and try walking in someone else's shoes. In the end, we are ALL family in this world. We are part of one race -- the human race -- and we are members of the same family, regardless of color, religion or creed. It's time we stop with the "us" versus "them" for the sake of our future existence.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

My book, Mending Fences, FREE till Monday!

In an alternate universe, I also write women's fiction under the pen name Star Ferris. My book, Mending Fences, is FREE in the Amazon Kindle store this weekend. As an aside, the cover is a temporary one. I'm designing a new one...but for now, the one up there is a placeholder of sorts.

Please go download a copy here:
It's currently ranked #12 under Genre Fiction>>Romance>>Western

The story takes place in Oklahoma. Freaky coincidence with this book is that I wrote it years before I became a widow with young children, and the heroine of the book, Jennifer Marless, is a widow with a young son. Talk about fiction imitating what happens later in real life! I think you'll like the sexy hero, too. His name is Jace Thompson and he has a secret past. Grab a FREE copy to find out more. ;-)

Here's a review of Mending Fences:

A Fallen Angels Recommended Read

Mending Fences

Jennifer Marless needs help in a big way but is reluctant to ask for it thinking anyone who helps her will feel just pity. On a whim right after her husband Reece died she participates in a contest to win her own ranch. What she didn’t expect was to actually win the ranch and the foreman Jace Thompson. So against her own wishes she takes her son, Aaron and herself for a week to Split Rail Ranch hoping to convince the foreman to selling the ranch. However, upon going she didn’t expect to see a dump and dilapidated ranch so in need of modern luxuries like plumbing. Jace is always there constantly reminding her of a snob she has become. Who can blame her, Reece was a big upstanding businessman and she had to make a good appearance? She knows that Jace is a good man but the ranch definitely needs a jump start of modernization. How can she just leave the ranch now in despair when her son becomes great friends with Jace and have his little heart broken. More than that will her heart stay intact from the love and passion that Jace is offering to give her?

Jace Thompson has lived for the past ten years on Split Rail Ranch making it his home and a city girl with a 13 year old teenager is not what he needs right now. Jace has his own secrets and past demons that he has been hiding from the past couple of years. Having Jennifer around has made him realize how long he’s been without a woman’s love but more importantly a son like Aaron. Even though he constantly riles Jennifer up he falls more in love with her each day. Can he make her see that not only the ranch needs her but he needs her to complete his life?

Among the wild Oklahoma terrain with its starry nights, love blooms with surprises in the air and passionate kisses bringing two lost souls to one another. I fell in love with Jennifer’s reluctance in seeing how beautiful the ranch really is and with the temptation of succumbing to Jace’s kisses. Man this man sure knows how to distract yet his past interferes with his relationship towards her. I especially loved Aaron also for this teenager sure has grown up so fast since his father passed away. This is a great contemporary romance filled with a gorgeous real life cowboy that will make any woman tingle with his seduction and Jennifer’s determination to make it on her own. Star Ferris did a great job with Mending Fences being her first book and will surely go far with her imagination and talent in creating such a beautiful story come to life with memorable characters.

Reviewed by: Lena C.

Depression, life narratives, walking one's own path

This is an excerpt from a comment thread on my Facebook page. I'd posted an article about writers and depression -- specifically about writers using depression meds. My friend, Anli, posted a comment that she was on meds, but eventually went off of them after therapy when she realized that we like to tell ourselves stories which can result in distortions that affect our thinking. We then carry them around like a book instead of dropping them and getting on with our lives.

That's a summary...but you get the idea. I love when people share their perspectives (in a respectful way, of course), because it gives me a chance to sit with my own and either remain with those stances or reconsider and change them. Discourse is the best when it provokes deeper thought and examination.

Here was my response (and a bit more besides):

Anli -- I understand and appreciate you sharing your story. All sharing is helpful in this regard.

My stories aren't stories I made up, though. I didn't make up that my first husband accidentally killed himself one day and I ended up a widow with two young kids in May 2001. I didn't make up stories that my ex-stepfather abused me and was violent with my family, threatening to burn down our house with us in it and stepping in front of our car with a gun pointed at us to keep us from leaving in the car. I didn't make up stories that I was nearly sexually assaulted in front of an entire college baseball team at Phillips University in Oklahoma back in 1984. I didn't make up stories that a good friend of my parents -- and a neighbor -- used to grab me inappropriately in the stairwell of our apartment building when I was 12 years old. These are not stories I made up; they were very real and don't even cover all the stuff I endured throughout my life. However, the past does not equal the future, and I choose to cope in whatever way I can.

My psychiatrist told me he was amazed I wasn't an alcoholic or a drug addict, considering all the messed-up shit that's happened in my life. However, it's all been a strange blessing in that it's made me stronger, more tenacious, more determined to succeed. If it hadn't been for those horrible circumstances, I may not have been such a good student; I may not have been published before the age of 18; I may not have published six books with more on the way; I may not have had the gumption to be a full-time freelancer (scary!) the past 16 years; I may not have had the strength or will to raise my kids by myself after Gary's death; I may not have had what it took to do countless things in my life. And yet, I have.

My past doesn't define me, but it does affect who I am today. I did go without meds for a very long time -- for six years, in fact. However, in 2012 my life became so difficult and stressful that I ended up in the emergency room and was told either I get things under control or risk a brain aneurysm from all of it. Well, needless to say, I chose not to die.

I can't say how long I'll stay on Celexa, but I will stay on it as long as I feel it's beneficial. We all walk our own paths. It's important to remember that your own path is unique and you can't compare it to anyone else's. It's the whole "walking in their shoes" thing. Each day, I continue on with life and get the fuck on with it; however, if we do not learn from the past and those experiences, we are often destined to repeat them in the future. I won't forget where I came from or how I got here. I won't let it hold me back, but I also won't forget the lessons I learned, either. They were often brutal and cruel, but they made me who I am.

I'm going to repost this as my status, since it's really something I've been meaning to say for a while just to get it off my chest. People think they know other people...but in truth, they usually don't know the half of it -- which is certainly the case for me.

I will also not hide or feel ashamed for what happened to me. Other people with twisted agendas and/or mental issues facilitated these messed-up events, not me. I will not take on the mantle of victim shame; sexual assault and abuse is NOT the victim's fault in any way, shape or form.

Anyway -- there you go. A rambling response that just sort of came out as a result of the comment thread. I'm glad it did, and if it makes anyone uncomfortable, that's too bad. It's my narrative and what happened can't be changed. It can only be used as fodder for addressing and assessing the present and the future.

So, remember this: when I react a certain way on Facebook or respond in a particular way about a subject, chances are my past has colored how I react.

One thing I do know is this: I am a survivor. I will find a way to survive, no matter what. Once you've been through hell, you get used to the flames. I am woman, I am warrior. I will do whatever is necessary to survive, with or without anyone's approval.

In the end, you come into this world with yourself and you leave with only yourself. Enjoy the ride, and if Celexa (or Paxil, Prozac, etc.) helps you hold onto the straps for a while longer, so be it! Do what works for you, and you alone. Our path is inevitably our own, and nobody else's.