Thursday, April 26, 2018

Bless Me, Constant Reader, For I Have Sinned.

     It has been 15 days since my last rant.
     Yeah, this was my reaction when i noticed the date of my last post and for that, for those few of you who have stuck by me when everyone else fled during the friendly fascist days of Obama, I have no excuses...
     ...except to say that I've been in the teeth of a new book since I put The Doll Maker into the submission swim. It's another Scott Carson novel, well, sort of, and while I don't want to give away anything, let's just say I started it on March 12th and, as of yesterday, it's already gotten up to 97,761 words, which is an average of over 2170 words a day. You try doing that for 45 days in a row and tell me how much blogging and the research that goes behind it you do.
     But that's not to say that I've been keeping my head in the sand. I still know what's going on. In short order, working my way back a bit...

     ...Scott Pruitt got butt-fucked on the floor of the House today, with one New Jersey Congressman saying he was opening up a sixth investigation into Pruitt's spending habits, including his $43,000 soundproof Cone of Silence at his EPA office and renting out a condo from an energy lobbyist for $50 a night that he still can't pay.
     Of course, Pruiit's claiming the House Democrats were mean to him because of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Of course he is.

     After a second trial by jury, Bill Cosby, America's Favorite Dirty Old Man, was finally convicted on three counts for raping a woman 14 years ago. Considering that he drugged her before having non-consensual sex with her, I don't know why they didn't charge him with 1st degree rape since it seemed, well, premeditated. But, either way. that's when happens when you try to play Hide the Jello Pudding Pop with women.

     Looks as if the Russian fix was in long before Trump threw his jester cap in the ring in 2015. Because it just came out that Steve Bannon had ordered Putin messaging tests to be done at his old company, Cambridge Analytica. You remember them, right? Those are the same assholes who harvested your Facebook data with Facebook's blessing, even thought it meant harvesting non-FB data on your cell phone and everywhere else without our knowledge, permission or forewarning.

     Today, four Republicans united with Democrats to pass a bill protecting Special Counsel Robert Mueller with the usual assholes voting against it. Among the Usual Suspects: Orrin Hatch (Utah), Mike Lee (Utah), John Cornyn (Texas), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Ben Sasse (Neb.), John Kennedy (La.) and Ted Cruz (Texas), who's really loving himself some Trump these days.

     A crazy old man called Fox & Frauds this morning, Hilarity ensured.

     Spycraft, statecraft, what the fuck's the difference? Mike Pompeo was snapped off at Langley and snapped on at Foggy Bottom, thanks to Senate Republicans who shoehorned another Christian zealot into another important position of power. But Pompeo's perfectly capable of being Secretary of State, says Sarah Huckabee Sanders. See?
     Here's a photo of him shaking hands with Kim Jong Un at a secret meeting that took place during the Easter Week! (Kim Jong Un's not really unenthused. That's just his soft, jiggling, second generation dictator resting face.) Congratulations, Mikey. You just joined that elite inner circle that includes the hairdresser that gets Un's hair to look like an anvil.

     Paul Ryan just fired the House Chaplain. The reasons number from him being too aligned with the Democrats to him inviting a Muslim Imam to deliver a prayer in the House. While I don't believe there should be a House chaplain (separation of church and state and all that), the reasons for this are dodgy no matter how you cut it. To show you what a real Profile in Courage Nancy Pelosi is, she was told about this beforehand and Ryan said he wouldn't fire Chaplain Conroy if Pelosi objected. She didn't but privately disagreed with Ryan's decision. And finally...

     As she went to work at the White House, Melania got into the spirit of things on Take Your Child to Work Day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Rat #46 Scuttles Off the Listing Ship of State

     The self-pitying sanctimoniousness of Paul Ryan's official resignation announcement was literally sickening. He didn't seek the job as House Speaker. He wasn't really resigning because of November's Blue Tsunami getting bigger and bigger on the horizon. And, of course, he wanted to spend more time with the Koch Brothers his family.
     And so ends one of the shortest House Speaker tenures in modern American history. It was remarkable for how much damage it had done to the American economy and the entire national landscape as a whole in such a brief period of time. As Joy Reid said on Twitter today, Paul Ryan will be known to posterity for two things- The ruinous tax scam cuts vigorously spearheaded by Ryan and for being a spineless weasel during the Trump administration.
     Right after the Access Hollywood tape came out on September 7th, 2016, Paul Ryan felt a dangerous onset of Sudden Spinal Emergence come on. Running for re-election himself, Ryan not only canceled plans to appear with Trump for the rest of the election season, he even stiff-armed Mike Pence, who had nothing to do with it and who was himself so horrified, he seriously considered dropping off the ticket two months before the election.
     But, like Pence, Ryan valiantly fought back that emerging spine, perhaps through surgical intervention, and put on a brave face whenever he was in Donald Trump's company again. He bravely kept up the pretense of partisan solidarity even as Trump was publicly insulting Ryan on Twitter. With the complete and utter absence of a spine, one could be forgiven for seriously theorizing the only thing keeping Paul off his stomach and in an upright position is a full back brace.
     So now beginneth the usual Republican piranha fight for the scraps that will no doubt be waged between House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who'd already been virtually rejected for the Speaker job, and noted homophobe Steve Scalise, the Majority Whip. I say "scraps" for a good reason. If after the midterms Mueller takes down both Trump and Pence simultaneously, according to the Rules of Succession, a Democratic Speaker would get the top job. Sound unlikely? Consider how unlikely it was that a Democratic insider bearing a two term president's name and with the Democratic establishment's, Super Delegates', Wall Street's and mainstream media's assistance would lose the last election to a thrice-married, fascist womanizing piece of shit like Donald Trump.
     And Ryan was actually #45. Number 46 on the Casualty List (Yes, there's actually a Casualty List maintained by the House Press Gallery) to announce their retirement was Dennis Ross, a Republican from Florida, who announced his own retirement to little if any fanfare just an hour later. Yet Ross' own departure will prove to be more notable than that, a bellwether of what will surely be a fresh wave of Republicans grabbing their umbrellas and sun block before that blue wave hits.
     In Ryan's district, he was facing stiff Democratic challenges from Randy Bryce and schoolteacher Cathy Meyers. On the Republican side? Paul Nehlen, another anti-semite in the same mold as Arthur Jones, running his own fascist, Quixotic campaign out of Chicago. Really, the only way that Bryce or Meyers could lose the seat to Nehlen is if they're both caught in bed with dead hookers and a pound of cocaine in a cheap roadside motel on Highway 66 and maybe not even that would stop the Democrats from vulturing Ryan's seat.
     So Ryan's essentially abdicating his seat to the Democrats and everyone knows it.
     Now, for every lickspittle, Republican invertebrate who announces their retirement, there's some last minute chance at redemption, some last-second appeal to Posterity to not be so harsh to them. That would be in expending their remaining political capital/hot air in blasting a ruinous administration for whom they'd carried water. Senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker found their inner Blue Dogs by insulting Donald Trump and his increasingly irrational and mercurial policies. John McCain, perhaps sensing the end is near for him, as well, had begun before the election by withdrawing his endorsement of Trump just before the 2016 election.
     But Paul Ryan won't do that. Indeed, in his advance concession speech, he never once mentioned the Trump administration. Instead, he patted himself on the back and said he was proud of his accomplishments as House Speaker, such as the tax scam bill off of which the multimillionaire from Janesville, Wisconsin will profit handsomely. He never once stood up to Trump even when he mocked Third World countries as "shithole countries", threatened to pull us into nuclear war with North Korea (and China) and was hit with one raid and sex scandal after another.
     And while I don't agree with radical centrist and Hillary backer Joy Reid, I have to agree with her that posterity will remember Paul Ryan's tenure for a ruinous tax cut bill and not standing up to the most fascist "president" this nation ever had and likely ever will have even after he no longer has a political career to worry about.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Trump is Henry Jekyll's Potion

     It's all about Donald Trump (at least in his funhouse mirror worldview), yet it isn't.
     Those of us in the reality-based community find it all too easy to blame Donald Trump for everything that's wrong with our once-great nation. He's the world's biggest lightning rod and, yes, we can trace the corruption, the forced deportations of Dreamers and Wall Street's instability directly to him. Throw a ton of shit at Trump and at least half of it will stick.
     But let's not give Trump too much credit- He did not shape this country nor create the political climate that makes the Bush and Obama years look like a 16 year-long golden age of bipartisanship. He merely exploited it for his own ends. And, yes, even exacerbated it. Trump's like that hard, white little clot that creates the most gigantic zit so that we're left wondering when the damned thing will finally pop and drain.
     But all Trump is is a vulture. As with Hitler (Yes, I'm invoking Godwin's law- sue me), Trump is a vulture who swooped in during a period of national discontent and stoked the anger of certain demographics still smarting from the fact that a biracial man led "their" country for eight years despite their best efforts. And Trump is now feeding on the carrion that used to be a healthy, functioning democracy that actually began dying decades ago.
     That's why I call Trump a vulture, although perhaps that, too, may be too kind since birds such as vultures, condors and buzzards are actually a vital and necessary part of the ecosystem. And these scavengers actually do their part to clean the earth.
     Donald Trump did not create racism or antisemitism, although one half expects he'll wake up at 4 one fine morning and claim credit for it on Twitter. Racism goes all the way back to the very dawn of our history when white landowners had no problem buying other human beings captured by force in Africa, transported in unimaginably horrid and inhuman conditions during the Middle Passage then sold like cattle in open auctions.
     Donald Trump was born the year after the Holocaust ended. And antisemitism has been around for several centuries longer than our unique brand of racism.
     Corruption has been steadily growing in American politics for at least two centuries. Whereas political patronage had been an unforgivable crime and any allegations of it could easily result in a challenge to a duel, as in Andrew Jackson's time, such a charge results only in yawns. Now we have an EPA administrator in Scott Pruitt who stays at a property owned by a major energy lobbyist for $50 a night and Trump says that's appropriate for Washington DC (If that's true, then someone should suggest he adjust his rates accordingly at his clip joint of a hotel down the road from the White House). And Pruitt fell behind even on that cushy arrangement.
     But the greatest danger facing America is the effect Trump is having on Americans, the real source of power even in this failing, listing democracy. People who ordinarily would have been horrified at the thought of a man having five children with three wives and bedding an endless succession of less-than-morally upstanding women during and between, people who'd previously never would've thought of voting for president a man who openly defended and embraced neonazis and antisemites, are now defending this man to the death.
     People, college-educated, usually articulate people have been fooled into thinking Trump is the greatest president ever even after just one full year in office and get vicious with even family members who say the slightest thing disparaging Trump. He's turned us into monsters.
     Trump is Henry Jekyll's potion.
     Since 2015, we've seen a startling rise in antisemitic activity.
     Since 2015, we've seen an undeniable spike in racist hate crimes.
     Since 2015, we've seen crimes against American Muslims skyrocket.
     And that's just the beginning of the vitriolic hatred we've seen in a country that was supposed to be moving in the direction of multiculturalism and racial and religious diversity.
     Trump is nothing more than an incipiently senile Elmer Gantry. As with Gantry, Trump has renounced booze and tobacco but just can't quite keep it in his pants. He preaches morality  to those who swear by it while proving himself a hypocrite at every turn. However, at the end of the film version with Burt Lancaster, Gantry eventually finds some sliver of conscience after his love interest dies in a fire.
     Trump simply doesn't have a conscience, let alone the ability to find one.
     When Trump Tower caught on fire last night (for the second time this year), all Trump could say was how well it was built and he never said a word about the elderly man who'd died or the four firefighters who were injured battling the 50th floor blaze. And apparently, Trump Tower was Grandfathered out of complying with Mayor Rudy's order to install sprinkler systems, which Trump Tower doesn't have on the upper floors.
     This shouldn't surprise anyone. What should surprise anyone with a shred of moral decency, brains and even a baseline awareness of what's going on is there is literally no red line that Trump can cross that'll get his red meat base to abandon him. They are suddenly comfortable with any cruelty he can possibly inflict or endorse. We've become a nationwide version of the Stanford Experiment.
     Let us hope this one terminates as prematurely and as abruptly as the original.
     Mr. Hyde was always within us. All it took was for Donald Trump to act as its potion to bring it out.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Interview with Mystery Author Valerie Burns

     I know this is a political blog and that whoever comes here generally does looking for political commentary. Yet, considering the negative news we've been incessantly hearing since a certain evolutionary dropout descended an escalator like a bored mall husband and into history, a change of pace is always welcome. So I decided to reach out to one of my more interesting Facebook friends, my current Author of the Month Valerie Burns, and asked if she wished to give an interview and she readily agreed. Val is a Camel/Kensington "cozy" mystery novelist who's currently juggling a fulltime job, three mystery series and a houseful of poodles as well as a blog of her own.



1.    About a year ago, I was chatting on Facebook with another African American mystery authoress and the subject of racial representation came up. She was of the opinion that more people of color don’t write or read mysteries because they feel underrepresented or misrepresented. What are your thoughts on the subject?

     Many people read books because they like the characters or feel they can relate to them. I think it’s important for readers to see themselves in the books, so I tend to agree that people of color may not read books if they don’t see themselves or people similar to them in the stories. Cozy mysteries include a lot of variety in an attempt to appeal to a broad spectrum of people. There are cozy mysteries with themes for practically every hobby or career. Check out any cozy mystery section in a bookstore and readers will see cozies about food, tea, wine, stamp collecting, antiques, knitting, quilting and a host of other topics. The range of topics is amazing and I love the variety. In the same sense, readers want to see themselves to a certain extent. I don’t believe readers necessarily want to take on the risk of an amateur sleuth and put their lives in danger to track down criminals. However, I do believe that it’s important for a reader to be able to relate to the characters. So, if more books with diverse characters are published, then I believe the readership will increase. Ultimately, mystery readers are interested in a good whodunit.

2.    Being an indie author takes guts, even if they are published by Kensington. What made you decide to dive into the perilous waters of indie books and write a series of cozies?

     As a passionate mystery lover, my happy place involves reading and watching cozy mysteries. After decades of reading cozies, writing them seemed to be a logical next step. I had a lot of ideas for books I wanted to read rolling around in my head. Eventually, I decided to take a chance at writing. The journey was long and grueling. Having an idea for a mystery series and actually writing a book with a beginning, middle and end (not to mention clues, and red herrings) isn’t easy. Once I wrote my first book, the next task was how to get that book published. I invested a lot of time, effort, energy and money into pursuing my dream of becoming a writer. However, the next phase of the process was like a maze. There were so many things that I didn’t know. Writing a book is only one part of a long process which involves editing, copy editing, cover art, distribution, sales, marketing and a host of other things that I’m still learning. I know a number of authors who have self-published and I have a lot of respect for them. As a new writer, I didn’t have the courage to self-publish. I needed the validation of having a publisher helping to guide me through the maze. I feel grateful to have Kensington behind me. I appreciate having an editor, copy editors, production editors, publicist and an army of people who can give me the benefit of their years of experience and knowledge. Both of my publishers, Camel and Kensington have been great and I am fortunate to have them.

3.    For those who are unfamiliar with your work, please describe the Dog Club mystery series and its four-legged and bipedaled protagonists.

     The Dog Club Mystery Series features a female protagonist, Lilly Echosby who is in the process of getting divorced. When her soon-to-be ex-husband, Albert, is murdered the police believe her to be their prime suspect. Lilly reconnects with an old college friend, Dixie who is heavily involved in showing and training dogs. Between Dixie and Lillie’s two children, Stephanie and David, they set out to find the real murderer and keep Lillie from paying for a crime she didn’t commit.

4.    When you were growing up, what authors influenced and/or inspired you?

     I am a HUGE Agatha Christie fan. I think I’ve read every book and short story she ever wrote. I even have duplicates of books because some of the titles were different in the U.K. than in the U.S. (And Then There Were None and Ten Little Indians is one example) I still remember when I read my first Agatha Christie, THE MURDER OF ROGER AKROYD. When I got to the end, I was hooked. I never saw the ending coming and was fascinated at how her mind worked to come up with such a creative concept. I also loved Rex Stout, Heron Carvic’s Miss Seton Mysteries, Martha Grimes, and Jill Churchill. I’m a big fan of historic cozies. I love tying to put the pieces together to figure out whodunit. I also prefer books with humor.

5.    Authors who write cozies much more often than not use cats, many of them their own, as characters in their books. You’re different in that respect. Aside from your love of the breed, why poodles?

     When I was a kid, I wanted a dog. Unfortunately, my mother wasn’t a big fan of dog hair. So, we could only have a dog that didn’t shed. After a bit of research, my sister and I discovered that poodles don’t shed. They also have a hyper-allergenic coat so people with allergies can often tolerate the breed. They are exceptionally smart and easy to train. Our first dog was a white toy poodle named Candy. She was amazing and super smart. As an adult, when I decided to get a dog, I chose the breed I knew and loved. I got chocolate poodles Coco and Cash. In my Mystery Bookshop Mystery series, the protagonist has two chocolate toy poodles (Snickers and Oreo) who are based on Coco and Cash. My Dog Club Mystery Series features a black toy poodle named Aggie (after Agatha Christie) who bares more than a striking resemblance to the newest addition to my pack, Kensington (named after my publisher), although I call her “Kenzie.” I’ve heard a lot of people mock the breed. They tend to think that the show cut poodles are shown on television indicates the breed is foo-foo and not very bright. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, poodles are one of the smartest breeds which is why they were often used in circuses because they were so easy to train. So, I include poodles in all of my books.

6.    Technological innovations aside, how have cozies changed since your favorite author Agatha Christie’s time or have they fundamentally changed?

     I think cozies have changed a lot since Agatha Christie’s time. The basics of the cozy are the same. There’s a crime, an amateur sleuth investigates and then the Big Reveal at the end. However, a lot of the story and style have changed since Agatha Christie’s day. One reason for the change is that there is a lot more information available on television and on the internet. Twenty-first century cozy readers are not as tolerant of errors and have expectations that books, while still fiction, must adhere to basic rules of believability. Writers can’t invent poisons or take creative license with dates/times or historic details. Readers have Google and will post to social media when they find inconsistencies, regardless of how engaging or well-written a book is. Twenty-first century readers also expect cozies to be more quickly-paced than in Agatha Christie’s time. Long pages of flowery prose aren’t as accepted today as in the past. I often reread my favorite authors (especially Agatha Christie) and find myself glazing over at pages of descriptions about bogs, fields or other scenery. However, it isn’t long before she draws me back into the story and I marvel at the creativity and genius to devise such cunning plots.

7.    Who are some of your other favorite mystery authors, past or present?

     I have a lot of favorites. I still love Agatha Christie and Rex Stout. However, I’ve added Victoria Thompson, Emily Brightwell, Martha Grimes, Jill Churchill, Laurien Berenson, Dorothy Gilman, Kay Charles and Susan Elia Macneal to my list of favorites.

8.    You’re the author of two other mystery series: The Mystery Bookshop Mystery series and the RJ Franklin series (Which, last I heard, will debut on July 1, 2018). The different protagonists and locales aside, how are they different from the Dog Club series?

     The Mystery bookshop mystery series features a story-within-a-story. The protagonist, Samantha Washington owns a mystery bookstore and is also writing a British historic cozy. So, the reader will have two mysteries to solve in every book. There is the mystery the protagonist is working through and the historic British mystery she is writing about. The RJ Franklin Mystery series features an African American male protagonist. All of the titles in this series are based on Negro Spirituals and includes soul food recipes. This series immerses the reader into the culture of the African American community. The Dog Club Mystery Series focuses more on my love of dogs. There will be a different breed of dog in each book and will introduce readers to various dog sports. This series includes information about dog breeds, training, and competitions.

9.    A British editor once passed on a novel I’d submitted entitled GODS OF OUR FATHERS because, while assuming I was white, she charged me with writing the protagonist’s narrative “in black dialect.” I did not. He sounds like any other well-educated man in mid-19th century Boston and was biracial, to boot. What are your thoughts on authors writing in dialect?

     I believe authors should write their characters in the voice appropriate for that character. If the setting/story calls for a particular dialect, then the author should use it. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is hard to read (at least for me), but the dialect was necessary for the story/time period. However, I don’t believe it’s necessary to stereotype characters by giving a “black dialect” to every black character. I think it’s possible to give a character a unique voice in other ways. Not all African Americans speak in ebonics. In fact, I think it is often more interesting to take a character who someone would expect to act a certain way and turn it upside down. In the example you listed, I think it would be more interesting to have that character speak with a British or Scandinavian accent. It would be unexpected and something that could be used as an educational tool as well as a story device as the other characters comment about how unexpected his accent was. Ultimately, I think the important thing is that the author is true to their own beliefs. So, hats off to you for maintaining your integrity and vision for your character.

10. Old school mystery novelists such as Earl Stanley Gardner and Dashiell Hammett didn’t spare a lot of ink and paper on character delineation. How, if at all, do you think getting involved in multiple murder investigations changes the protagonists’ characters or should they evolve?  

     I think characters should evolve over time, although I don’t know that the timing for character arcs that is common in many other genres is as short in mysteries, especially when writing a series. In science fiction and urban fantasy, the protagonist typically undergoes a change from the beginning of the book to the end. Mystery detectives in a series may not go through a full cycle of the Hero’s Journey in each and every book of the series. However, I do believe that characters in a series should change/evolve from one book to the next, even though the transformation can be slower. In the first book of a cozy, the amateur sleuth may not know much about investigating a murder. Readers would expect him/her to make mistakes and stumble along the way. Usually, they are flying by the seat of their pants. However, after a few more murders, the expectations would be that the protagonist is more skilled at finding clues and investigating. Hopefully, the sleuth has learned a few things. So, the character arc in a sleuth in a mystery series will span the series rather than one or two books.

11. Plotter or pantser?

     I’m a pantser who wants to be a plotter. Friend and mystery author, Kay Charles (Ghost in Glass Houses) once said, “Outlining (plotting) a mystery is like reading a book when you already know the ending.” I have to say, I agree. I’ve tried many times to turn myself into a plotter, but it hasn’t worked. I spend a lot of time developing my characters and once I know who they are, then I allow them to take me where they want to go. I think my editor would prefer if I were a plotter, but unfortunately, I haven’t been able to make that change. I write a rough sketch of the plot and fill in the details as the story evolves.

12. You’ve based all your novels in fictionalized places you’ve lived because as you’d written on your blog, location, location, location is essential. Why is it important to you to have your characters seamlessly integrate with their environment as opposed to a fish out of water story?

     I believe the location or setting is critical to the character development, the character dialogue and personality come from their location. The Dog Club Mystery series starts in Indiana but will move to the south. As the character moves, then she will be a bit of a fish out of water, but it is a lot easier to write about places you know. Plus, it makes the dialogue more authentic. I believe the author’s familiarity with a location will ring true to the readers. In THE PLOT IS MURDER, the fictional town of North Harbor, Michigan is based on Benton Harbor, Michigan. I’ve received several emails asking if North Harbor is in southwestern Michigan because readers recognized different landmarks based on my descriptions or the character’s dialogue. That makes me happy. It means, I’ve done my job and the reader identifies with the area.

13. They say there are two kinds of stories- A stranger arriving in a strange town or a person going on a journey. Which is it for you?

     A person going on a journey is a great concept. I absolutely love the idea of taking the reader on a mysterious journey to a fictional world where bad things happen, but there are good people who are willing to get involved to find the truth. Sometimes there is so much negative on the news and on social media that I enjoy getting lost in a cozy world with kind, concerned citizens who care about justice. Cozies provide an escape and a puzzle to challenge the mind. That’s how I feel when I read my favorite authors. I get immersed in the world the author creates. I think that’s why when I read British cozies I find myself drinking much more tea and looking for recipes for scones and clotted cream.

14. You’ve said on your blog that you try to set a goal of 1000-1500 words a day. Reconstruct your daily writing routine. Do you write exclusively on a laptop or do you draft in a notebook or is it a combination of both?

     I have a full-time job, so I don’t get to write much during the weekday. So, my routine involves going to work from 8-5 and then coming home, grabbing something to eat and sitting down at my laptop to write, usually 6-9 on week nights. My goal is to write between 7,500 – 10,000 words per week which translates into 1,000 – 1,500 per night. Looking at my writing goal as a weekly goal rather than a nightly goal prevents me from stressing out if I miss a night of writing or fail to hit the 1,000 word target. I can usually make up the word count on the weekend when I have more time. I don’t edit or make adjustments during this phase. My goal is to get the words on the page; it can always be edited or revised later. However, you can’t edit a blank page. Most of my writing is done on a laptop, but I often travel with a journal or notebook and will write longhand whenever I find myself waiting for long periods of time (beauty shop, auto repair, doctor’s office). I’ve even been known to write when I’m stuck in traffic. If I don’t have my notebook or journal, I scribble notes on the back of envelopes, napkins, or gas receipts, pretty much whatever I find in the bottom of my purse or on the floor of my car.

15. What changes would you like to see in mystery fiction in general? What would you like to keep?

     I think the biggest change I’d like to see would be to include more diverse voices which I think will help the genre to grow and expand as it attracts more readers. I understand publishing is a business and publishers need to make money to stay in business. To achieve this it’s really tempting to buy more of the tried and true and not take chances on new writers. I wish more publishers were willing to take chances on new writers. One of the things I like about my publishers is that both Camel Press and Kensington accept unsolicited manuscripts. This gives unagented writers an opportunity to submit their manuscripts so they have a fighting chance of at least getting read. If more publishers were willing to do this, I think it will be a boost and expand their odds of finding the diamond in the rough. As far as what I would like to keep, I honestly feel the mystery community is extremely friendly and embraces authors and mystery fans. That is something you don’t see in some other genres. Before I started writing mysteries, I tried my hand at screenwriting. It is extremely hard to break into screenwriting. Well, so is publishing in general. However, I felt that the screenwriting community was much more negative. Each workshop or book I read emphasized how hard it was to break into screenwriting. The mystery fiction community was much more positive. Yes, it’s not easy to find an agent or publisher. However, there are tons of people around who will answer questions, tell you about books or blogs, allow you to blog hop or are willing to interview you for their website (thanks Robert). I hope the Mystery Fiction genre stays as open and welcoming so that other writers have the same experience I’ve had.

Valerie Burns' books can be found here on her author page at Amazon.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Malice in Wonderland

     Look at the Easter Bunny's face. It seems as if he's asking himself, "Where's Lewis Carrol when you need some common sense?" Donnie Dumbo becomes Donnie Darko, Sr.

     This was Donald Trump at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll last Sunday. There were thousands of children on the South Lawn with their parents waiting to have fun. Then Trump, typically, wings it with just the right wing and starts blathering on about the economy, Melania redecorating the White House, $700 billion we'll be spending on the military (industrial complex) and, oh yeah, later slamming Democrats while surrounded by kids.
     That's because Trump honestly cannot tell the difference between adults and children. And, like the other pedophile mentioned above, this is perhaps the reason why Trump's been ogling underage girls his entire adult life. From the 12 year-old Paris Hilton, to remarking on how big the infant Tiffany's tits will be to comparing his paramours to Ivanka and telling a CBS correspondent at Trump Tower in the early 90's after seeing a preteen girl get on the escalator, "I'm gonna be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?"
     And let's not forget the time last year he was alluding to sex parties on the yacht of one of his billionaire buddies at the Boy Scout Jamboree.
     Either Trump can't distinguish between grownups and children or he has the perception inverted. He often talks to his top aides as if they're children and speaks to children as if they're adults and really give a shit how much military spending will be in the next defense spending bill.
     Seriously, folks, if Obama spoke to children as if he was giving a Cabinet meeting or addressing the US Chamber of Commerce during his eight Easter Egg Rolls, right wingers would've been reaching for the rope.

     By the way, out of camera range, there was this security detail watching every move the kids were making, especially the dark ones. Not really, but if by some miracle Trump lasts another year, this won't be a joke, anymore.

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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  • Assclowns of the Week

  • Links to the first 33 Assclowns of the Week.
  • Links to Assclowns of the Week 38-63.
  • #106: The Turkey Has Landed edition
  • #105: Blame it on Paris or Putin edition
  • #104: Make Racism Great Again Also Labor Day edition
  • #103: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Toilet edition
  • #102: Orange is the New Fat edition
  • #101: Electoral College Dropouts edition
  • #100: Centennial of Silliness edition
  • #99: Dr. Strangehate edition
  • #98: Get Bentghazi edition
  • #97: SNAPping Your Fingers at the Poor edition
  • #96: Treat or Treat, Kiss My Ass edition
  • #95: Monumental Stupidity double-sized edition
  • #94: House of 'Tards edition
  • #93: You Da Bomb! edition.
  • #92: Akin to a Fool edition.
  • #91: Aurora Moronealis edition.
  • #90: Keep Your Gubmint Hands Off My High Pre'mums and Deductibles! edition.
  • #89: Occupy the Catbird Seat/Thanksgiving edition.
  • #88: Heil Hitler edition.
  • #87: Let Sleeping Elephants Lie edition.
  • #86: the Maniacs edition.
  • #85: The Top 50 Assclowns of 2010 edition.
  • #(19)84: Midterm Madness edition.
  • #83: Spill, Baby, Spill! edition.
  • #82: Leave Corporations Alone, They’re People! edition.
  • #81: Hatin' on Haiti edition.
  • #80: Don't Get Your Panties in a Twist edition.
  • #79: Top 50 Assclowns of 2009 edition.
  • #78: Nattering Nabobs of Negativism edition.
  • #77: ...And Justice For Once edition.
  • #76: Reading Tea Leaves/Labor Day edition.
  • #75: Diamond Jubilee/Inaugural Edition
  • #74: Dropping the Crystal Ball Edition
  • #73: The Twelve Assclowns of Christmas Edition
  • #72: Trick or Treat Election Day Edition
  • #71: Grand Theft Autocrats Edition
  • #70: Soulless Corporations and the Politicians Who Love Them Edition
  • Top 10 Things Donald Trump Said to President Obama
  • Paul Ryan's Top Ten Conditions on Running for the Speakership
  • Top 10 Reasons Why Mitt Romney Won't Run for President in 2016
  • Top 10 Results of the NYPD's Work Slowdown
  • Top 10 Secret Service Security Breaches
  • Top 10 LA Radio Shows That Are Rated Higher Than Rush Limbaugh's
  • Top 10 Reasons Operation American Spring Went Flat
  • Top Ten Facts of the MH370 Air Disaster
  • Top 10 Tips for GOP Congressmen Running Against Women
  • Top 10 Signs Walmart's Mistreating its Workers
  • Top 10 Diversions John McCain Found During Syria Hearing
  • Top 10 George Zimmerman Excuses for Speeding.
  • Top 10 Reasons Paula Deen Got Fired by the Food Network
  • Top Ten Ways Pope Francis is Deviating From Convention
  • Top 10 Reasons For the Pope's Resignation
  • Top 10 Emails Hacked From the Bush Family's Email Accounts
  • Top 10 Lies Told by Mitt Romney at the 2nd Debate.
  • Top 10 Examples of How Hard the Campaign Trail is on Ann D. Romney.
  • Top 10 Ways to Tell The Boston Red Sox Are Finished.
  • Top 10 Things Mitt May be Hiding in His Tax Returns.
  • Top 10 Events at the Romney Olympics.
  • Mitt Romney's Top 10 Wild & Crazy Moments.
  • Top Ten Reasons Why Dick Cheney Got a Heart Transplant.
  • Top 10 Facts About Tonight's New England/Denver Game.
  • My Top 10 Resolutions.
  • Top 10 Rejected Slogans of the Romney Campaign.
  • Top 10 Reasons Herman Cain Suspended His Campaign.
  • Top 10 Trending Topics on Twitter During #OWS Eviction.
  • Top 10 Herman Cain Pickup Lines.
  • Top 10 Changes Since Anthony Weiner Decided to Resign.
  • Top 10 Inaccuracies re bin Laden's Death.
  • Top 10 Ways to Prevent a TSA Patdown.
  • Top Ten Things Not to Say When You're Pulled Over.
  • Top 10 Reasons Why Donald Trump Bowed Out of the Presidential Race.
  • Top 10 Ways Evangelicals Will Prepare for the Rapture II.
  • Top 10 Revelations in Today's Parliament Inquiry into News Corp.
  • Top 10 Reasons Why There Was No Vote on the Debt Ceiling Last Night.
  • Top 10 Revelations in Dick Cheney's Upcoming Memoir.
  • Top Ten Ways Americans Will Observe the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.
  • Top Ten Advances in Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia.
  • Top Ten Inaccuracies in Bill O'Reilly's Book About Lincoln.
  • Top Ten Suggestions From the Cat Food Commission.
  • Top Ten Worst Moments in George W. Bush's Presidency.
  • Top Ten Facts in George W. Bush's Memoir.
  • Top Ten Reasons Terry Jones Postponed His Koran Burning
  • Top 10 Causes for Dick Cheney's Congestive Heart Failure
  • Top Ten Ways That Jan Brewer Will Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
  • Top Ten Demands in Sarah Palin's Contract
  • Top Ten Whoppers in Karl Rove's New Book
  • Top 10 Items Left Behind in Rush Limbaugh's Apartment
  • Top Ten Things Barack Obama said to Rush Limbaugh in the Hospital
  • Top Ten Bizarre Promos Offered by the New Jersey Nets
  • Top 10 Bush Executive Orders Labor Wants President Obama to Repeal
  • George W. Bush's Top Ten Lesser Achievements
  • Empire Of The Senseless.
  • Christwire.org: Conservative Values for an Unsaved World.
  • Esquire's Charles Pierce.
  • Brilliant @ Breakfast.
  • The Burning Platform.
  • The Rant.
  • Mock, Paper, Scissors.
  • James Petras.
  • Towle Road.
  • Avedon's Sideshow (the new site).
  • At Largely, Larisa Alexandrovna's place.
  • The Daily Howler.
  • The DCist.
  • Greg Palast.
  • Jon Swift. RIP, Al.
  • God is For Suckers.
  • The Rude Pundit.
  • Driftglass.
  • Newshounds.
  • William Grigg, a great find.
  • Brad Blog.
  • Down With Tyranny!, Howie Klein's blog.
  • Wayne's World. Party time! Excellent!
  • Busted Knuckles, aka Ornery Bastard.
  • Mills River Progressive.
  • Right Wing Watch.
  • Earthbond Misfit.
  • Anosognosia.
  • Echidne of the Snakes.
  • They Gave Us a Republic.
  • The Gawker.
  • Outtake Online, Emmy-winner Charlotte Robinson's site.
  • Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo
  • No More Mr. Nice Blog.
  • Head On Radio Network, Bob Kincaid.
  • Spocko's Brain.
  • Pandagon.
  • Slackivist.
  • WTF Is It Now?
  • No Blood For Hubris.
  • Lydia Cornell, a very smart and accomplished lady.
  • Roger Ailes (the good one.)
  • BlondeSense.
  • The Smirking Chimp.
  • Hammer of the Blogs.
  • Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.
  • Argville.
  • Existentialist Cowboy.
  • The Progressive.
  • The Nation.
  • Mother Jones.
  • Vanity Fair.
  • Salon.com.
  • Citizens For Legitimate Government.
  • News Finder.
  • Indy Media Center.
  • Lexis News.
  • Military Religious Freedom.
  • McClatchy Newspapers.
  • The New Yorker.
  • Bloggingheads TV, political vlogging.
  • Find Articles.com, the next-best thing to Nexis.
  • Altweeklies, for the news you won't get just anywhere.
  • The Smirking Chimp
  • Don Emmerich's Peace Blog
  • Wikileaks.
  • The Peoples' Voice.
  • Dictionary.com.
  • CIA World Fact Book.
  • IP address locator.
  • Tom Tomorrow's hilarious strip.
  • Babelfish, an instant, online translator. I love to translate Ann Coulter's site into German.
  • Newsmeat: Find out who's donating to whom.
  • Wikipedia.
  • Uncyclopedia.
  • anysoldier.com
  • Icasualties
  • Free Press
  • YouTube
  • The Bone Bridge.
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