Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Crystal and Cat Lady Takes on Tammany Hall 2.0

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari) 
Detroit, MI ---
I jokingly refer to ultimate long shot presidential candidate Marianne Williamson as the Crystal and Cat Lady. But the fact remains that in the two times she's been shunted to the outermost fringes of the debate stages in Miami and Detroit last night, the lady's made some pragmatic, good points, venturing to go where no Blue Dog has gone before. That is, when she's allowed to speak and the moderators remember she's there. Last night, Williamson had the least speaking time save for John Hickenlooper. In fact, Google Trends' Twitter feed came up with this surprising statistic:

     Yes, you read that right. Marianne Williamson's name got more searches than heavyweights Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Now granted, Sanders and Warren are known quantities as well as front runners whereas Williamson needs to be looked up. But the takeaway here is that Williamson, in the very few minutes she was allowed to speak, excited enough curiosity for people to want to learn more about her and her policy positions. In fact, Williamson's name was the most searched in all states except for Montana, where Montanans had to Google their own Governor, Steve Bullock.
     Williamson scored some valuable points in her minuscule speaking time in two ways. When asked about the Flint water crisis, Williamson said in part, "Flint is just the tip of the iceberg," then cited her time living with her daughter in Grosse Point, a wealthy white-majority suburb, and said it never would have happened there. Then she expanded in her minute-long answer by saying, "If you think any of this wonkiness is going to deal with this dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country, then I'm afraid that the Democrats are going to see some very dark days... If the Democrats don't start saying it, why would those people vote for us? And Donald Trump will win."
     In her very little speaking time, Williamson delivered no less than three applause lines just during her answer to the ongoing Flint water crisis. And, yes, she spoke over the applause rather than basking in it like Trump would've.
     Elsewhere, she was asked by Don Lemon about her noted plans to make $200 to $500 billion in reparations to African Americans whose ancestors were enslaved. "It is time to simply realize that this country will not heal. People heal when there is deep-truth telling. We need to recognize that when it comes to the economic gap between blacks and whites in America, it does come from a great injustice that has never been dealt with."
     She then went on to say that she crunched the numbers on the old 40 acres and a mule promise  (that was never kept) the federal government made to former slaves as reparations for their unpaid labor. She said that, making a modern day currency conversion, with 4-5 million newly-freed slaves, the reparations would "be in the trillions" and that "anything less than $100 billion would be an insult." And, unlike the others on the stage, Williamson is against the formation of a commission on reparations.
     Williamson hasn't got a prayer of winning, obviously (although it's extremely entertaining to speculate what a Williamson administration would be like). But one thing she does know how to do is hold the establishment Democrats' feet to the fire. Such as when she said them vowing to keep big money out of politics when they themselves are accepting vast sums of money from the same corporations they're piously decrying was just so much "yada yada" the American public wouldn't buy. And she's right. We hear the same fucking lip service every four years. Nothing changes. Yada yada. She's the conscience of these debates and she is no Cassandra.

"I Wrote the Damn Bill!"

Meanwhile, as the gargantuan Tim Ryan was mistaken for Bill De Blasio by professional bleacher bum Bill O'Reilly and making Marianne Williamson look like Zelda Rubenstein by conspicuous relief, Bernie Sanders was asked a question about whether or not Medicare for All would be as good as the health care now offered to 600,000 Michigans. As he began to talk about how it would include dental and eyewear, Tim Ryan made the mistake of interrupting with, "You don't know that, Bernie." The screengrab above shows the moment after Sanders said, "I do know! I wrote the damn bill!"
     Imagine Jess Willard going down all seven times in the first round against Dempsey 100 years ago this July 4th and you'll get an idea of the effect that had on the stupendously ignorant Ryan. The look on Ryan's face can only be matched by that on Dan Quayle's face during the 1988 Vice Presidential debate when Senator Lloyd Bentsen told Quayle, "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."
     Other notable moments came when an equally energetic Elizabeth Warren essentially went all Jason Vorhees on former Congressman John Delaney. As Sanders did with Ryan, Warren essentially ended Delaney's centrist presidential aspirations when he said hers and Sanders' policy positions were too far to the left. Warren removed her machete and said this:
     “I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for. I don't get it.” And as Delaney's bald head rolled around onstage for a few seconds before coming to rest at the still-bleeding Tim Ryan's feet, the peasants rejoiced. Warren's statement, by the way, could have been leveled against Hillary Clinton in 2016 and can be repurposed yet again against Joe Biden tonight.
     As I'd predicted after the first debates in Miami, civility among the candidates wouldn't last and the mud balls, dead cats and gimlets would eventually come out. Mayor Pete Buttigieg scored some points by rightly pointing out that the querulous Republicans would call them crazy Socialists if they adopted far left positions and if they adopted far right positions, they'd still say the same thing, Therefore, he concluded, “It’s time to stop worrying what the Republicans will say... Let's just stand up for the right policy and go out there and defend it."
     In a horse race, in the earliest going the horses are bunched together and are difficult to distinguish. Then as the race proceeds, the horses spread out, distinguishing themselves and the fastest pull ahead while the slower ones drop back. Politics is no different and, if nothing else, last night's debate proved that the centrists and far left candidates such as Warren, Sanders and Williamson, are vehemently attacking each other's positions. And tonight will be no exception, even though it will virtually consist of nothing but centrists.
     But, like a fighter who throws far fewer punches than the opponent but does so with the pinpoint accuracy of a Joe Louis, Marianne Williamson won last night's debate despite the moderators pointedly ignoring her almost all night last night.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Gotham City Digest

(45 es un titere.)

     Typical. Just hours after Mueller warned the Russians were hacking into our elections even as we speak, Republicans said. "Dear God, we mustn't do anything to stop them!" Republican scum are in bed with Putin. There's no two ways about it.

     Standing before the fake seal, the fake president said the Constitution lets him do whatever he wants. Oh, is that so? Then tell us why the Constitution allows Congress to impeach presidents.

     Seriously, MN-5? This really is the best Republican you could field? If crime's gone up in Minneapolis by 80%, it's because of this right wing lunatic. Alright, let's git 'er done.

     Beacon Hill finally banned child marriage. Good job, guys, but what the hell took you so long? The majority of girls as young as 14 were married to grown men. In other words, they married pedophiles. And evangelical nut jobs say gay people make a mockery of marriage.

     Oh, good show, old chaps. Boris has been Prime Minister for less than a week and he's already getting investigated for improper emails.

     She could have used her rank to dress down the racists and misogynists in this group. Instead, she merely dropped out when it was expedient.

     It's all about the Benjamin, baby.

     Gay people are made when pregnant women have anal sex, huh? Anyone want to take a stab at how fundie religious leaders are conceived?

     This was the day after he shot someone. He proposed shooting up the University of Tulsa to “drive the far left crazy.”
      Drive us crazy.

     This reminds me of the story of Trump walking into the dressing room at the Miss Teen USA pageant under the pretext of... I dunno what his pretext was. It doesn't matter. But these are the tricks that dirty old men pull because they can't legitimately get laid.

     Do these thug tactics really surprise anyone?

     Looks like Pete Hogsbreath's at it again. "Who are you going to believe? Me or our lying polls?!"

     Wax dummy. Yes, I went with the obvious insult. Sue me.

     Former Miss Michigan given a job aboard the HMS Titanic.

     In case you were ever wondering what it would be like if David Lynch ever released a gospel album, wonder no more. The midget in the red suit may or not sing backwards.

     Right wing zealots rule that fascist dictator can make America safe by stealing from our national defense.

     If you're a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. And if you're an undocumented Klansman like Trump, every problem is the black guy's fault.

     I used to feel real good about scientists... until this.

     Where the fuck do these wet-legged paranoid fascists come from?

     Crazy old man shakes fist at literary agents, publishers, air conditioners.

     Jake Tapper to Mike Pence on child camps: "You’re a father, a man of faith — you can’t approve of this."
     Pence: "Yes I can."

     Oh no, this latest hare-brained scheme of Trump's is not reminiscent of the Third Reich at all.

     The sociopathic, distant disdain with which Trump had treated Nadia Murad, last year's co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is pretty typical of what one can expect from a misogynist and rapist and sexual assaulter of countless women, someone who shamelessly pals around with other rapists, whorewongers, child molesters and purveyors of kiddie porn.

     "He is aiding and abetting [Russian President] Vladimir Putin's ongoing attempts to subvert American democracy, according to the Republican FBI, CIA, DNI, intel committee. All Republicans are all saying Russia is subverting American democracy and #MoscowMitch won't even let the Senate take a vote on it. That is un-American." - former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe, 7/26/19

     Typically, the Undocumented Klansman in Chief just went after another black congressman. So there was never crime in Jamaica, Queens? No rats? How about Mar-a-Lago? Your son in law's properties in Baltimore? Yeah, LET'S talk about Baltimore.

     Really, Donnie Dumbo? Tariffs on French wine, now?

     Lucian Truscott IV is very right here.

     First Oregon Republicans now this. How many Republican scumbags have to become fugitives of justice before their voters realize they're voting for criminals?

      Trump doesn't appoint officials- He contracts assassins.

     Flint can now take Uncle Sam to court. Let the games begin.

     Headline: "Mitch McConnell is a Russian Asset." Sometimes you've just gotta spit it out and not mince words.

     Aaaand the Baltimore Sun's editorial board sticks the landing!

     Sometimes, the optics mean nothing.

     Hm. Forced relocations. Mass purges. Not reminiscent of the 3rd Reich AT ALL.

     Instagram purged over 30 money-making accounts without warning, explanation or providing an appellate process. Because Markie Mark's the only one in Facebook Land who's allowed to make money, doncha know?

     Don't ever let anyone tell you this is a conspiracy theory. And if they do, challenge them with this former insider's account.

     Humans have killed 83% of mammals and half of all plant life even though we make up just 0.01% of the planet's biomass. We are an especially pernicious little virus, are we not?

     Coming up on FOX AND FRAUDS after the break: "He's famous and I thought, 'He's not going to ruin his entire reputation.' Obviously, in hindsight, I feel like such an idiot."

     Meanwhile, Senator Skeletor becomes disarticulated on the Sunday talking skull circuit.

     Right wingers are getting their marching orders from someone's email account and I think it might be Mulvaney's. Time and again, today especially, whenever media figures try to put these Republicans' cloven hooves to the fire about Trump's attacks on Chairman Cummings, they do the exact same thing: Deflect and distract. Not only that, they distract in exactly the same way and with the same topics: The border, immigration, all of which is predicated on Trump's racism. Ergo, the Republican Party is so steeped in virulent racism that the only way they can distract from Trump's racist attacks on Cummings is to mention an immigration policy also based on racism. Why the media aren't calling them on this is anyone's guess.

     Massa breaks out the bullwhip again late last night and again this morning.

     The dark side of public education. And finally...

     Poor little Marco. He really, desperately wants to be an honorary white man.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Gotham City Digest

(Stern. Strong. Fascist. Trump.)

     "After complaints, district officials announced they plan to send out a less threatening letter next week."
      You think they're doing this on behalf of whatever corporation they'd contracted?

     Headline: "Court Just Ruled In Favor Of Allowing Sexual Harassment Against Women Inmates Because It’s A ‘Training Exercise’" "4th amendment?" You don't need no steenkin' 4th amendment!"

     “We shouldn’t take anything she says seriously,” said Fox's Pete Hogsbreath. "Fox News has devoted three times more coverage to the freshman congresswoman this year than the other cable news networks."
      Maybe we should arrange a 9/11 style Commission to see how Trump got "elected" into the WH. Oh, wait, we did. It's called the Mueller Report.

     Remember when Mike Pence suddenly aborted a trip to New Hampshire early this month at the same time Putin was called back to the Kremlin during that disaster that killed 11 Russian sailors? Turns out that was just a coincidence. Here's the real reason why Pence cancelled. Who can blame him?

     Just the fact he said Modi wanted him to get involved with the Kashmir talks and that he could wipe out Afghanistan in a week shows what a colossally ignorant boob he is.

     Let the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum memes begin.

     Oh, this is bullshit. Now we're rounding up US citizens.

     So, when Boris got sent to #10 Downing, this is what Natasha had to say:
     So, how did Putin respond?

     Now he has Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum cock puppets on both sides of the pond. Well, played, Putin, well played.

     In light of who the new UK PM is, this looks like a good day to dust off this old article by Andy Borowitz.

     And yet another oldie but goodie from Andy.

     Can someone please tell me when the media started interpreting a popularity rating of under 50% as "popular"? And since when did Joe Biden, a Blue Dog hack who historically has been completely unelectable for the presidency, suddenly become the Democratic "front runner"?

     Ever wanted a drone with a built-in flamethrower? Well, wait no more. Again, IDIOCRACY is no longer a movie: It's a documentary.

     Cop who threatened AOC's life got fired by the Gretna PD. Just watch- In a couple of months we'll be reading about him getting hired by the corrupt NOPD on the other end of the bridge.

     The American Nazi Party just shut down Theresienstadt. It'd served its propaganda purpose.

     Meanwhile, in Northern Braindead, Trumpistan... "Owning slaves doesn't make you racist."

    Congress finally just passed this bill well past the natural lifetmes of any first responder (2092). It's just a shame Jon Stewart had to shame Congress into it. Speaking of Stewart, this wonderful photo made the rounds:

      P.S. The two pieces of shit who voted against it are the Usual Suspects: Mike Lee and Rand Paul. In Republicanland, these are considered votes of conscience.

     Apparently, you're not permitted to ask the Gestapo for their papers.

     See what you started, Trumpie? Now we have fucking mediums running for state senate.

     More 3 dimensional chess from fucking Pelosi. Just get it over with, already.

     The Mueller testimony, as I'd predicted last month, was a big nothing burger, a limp rerun of the report itself. No revelations, no admissions, no nothing.
     Trump, on the other hand, saw it differently. If he's as innocent as he says he is, then what's fair or unfair is immaterial, right?

          For my friends across the pond.

     Only in the UK can 0.14% of the people be considered a mandate.

     Trump's Chinese-made flags and hats just got held up in Customs. Oh, the irony. Essentially, Trump's running a Walmart campaign. America first, my ass.

     So, who just wrote on Fox "News" that Democrats were losing the immigration debate because of their "extreme" and "radical" proposals like not putting innocent children and babies in concentration camps? This douchebag.

     Looks like Epstein tried to off himself last night. Either that or a mass murderer cop tried to do us a favor. Either way, as the old saying goes, Better luck next time.

     Maybe if they'd pitched him in Russian and put a few million rubles on his desk, Mitch would've listened.

     This is chilling. tRrump's DOJ just brought back federal capital punishment. What's punishable by death? Well, treason, among other things. Maybe Trump and Barr didn't think this all the way through.

     What do you get for a fake president who has everything? A fake presidential seal.

     So, Jeremy Corbyn righteously raked Theresa May over the coals at her exit interview before Parliament and right wingers in the UK press are STILL tweaking out about it.

     That US citizen that CBP grabbed a month ago? He just got released. He was tempted to self-deport just to get away from the filth and ticks. Yes, ticks.
     Concentration camps. They're a thing again. And finally...

     The next time Trump inveighs against coyotes smuggling people across the border, he might want to mention these corrupt jarheads.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

More, Please?

     Scrooge eventually saw the light of day. And I'm guessing Fagin had second thoughts about his career path when he stood on the gallows.
     I think I stand on firm ground when I say we can rule out Donald Trump and the Republican Party ever having such an epiphany (although I'm all for sending him and many of his enablers to the gallows, second thoughts or not).
     Seriously, when did the United States become such a dystopian Dickensian nightmare? Let's start with school lunches: According to Nokidhungry,org, 12,000,000 children are living in food insecure homes. That's 6% of our nation's children. According to CNN's findings, 75% of school districts, three quarters of them, are reporting children owing large school lunch debts at the end of the year.
     But to some school districts, the real problem isn't child hunger but the unpaid bills their parents can't afford to pay.
     Further exacerbating the problem, the Trump administration just decided to tighten the restriction on SNAP eligibility for food stamps in households with children. That would be the same Trump administration that not too long ago gave a trillion and a half dollars of our money to those least needy or deserving of it while raising middle class and low income tax burdens while giving multibillionaires tax credits for their private jets.
     The tax scam bill, as it was rightly called, was also passed with the most naked corruption by the same Republican Party that, after 18 years, was finally shamed into doing the right thing by 9/11 responders the same exact day Trump made it more difficult for children to get food in their mouths.
     Yet a school district in Pennsylvania has been getting some heat lately by threatening to kidnap children and put them in foster homes if their school lunch plans were not soon paid by their parents. After it got some heat for that, the district then sort of backtracked and said it would send out "a less threatening letter."
     Considering how many school districts outsource school lunches to private corporations who basically feed our kids shit in their penny-pinching profit motive, it's not much of a stretch to say these school districts are going to bat not for themselves but the rapacious corporations these districts contract when they rattle their sabres and demand to be paid.
     According to this NY Times article from late 2011, a full quarter of our school districts have been outsourcing food processing to private corporations under a federal program called the National School Lunch Program. This is a longstanding program that essentially gives school districts heavily discounted or free surplus food . Yet more and more, the chicken they would get, for instance, from the Dept. of Agriculture gets sent out and then comes back as chicken nuggets only at 3 to 4 times the price.
     A 2008 study found a direct correlation between greedy, cost-cutting food service companies and lower test scores. And that's because of the higher fat, sodium and sugar content fed to our children five days a week, nine months every year. The scary thing about the trend to privatization of school lunch programs? There isn't a single agency that tracks such a thing.
     And then there's the (thankfully) heavily-covered trend of arresting children whose parents legally seek asylum at the border are kidnapped and thrown into concentration camps. If you think our own children are being fed poorly in our schools (and by and large, they are), that's nothing compared to the crap we're feeding these imprisoned children.
     Here's a snippet of a report from CNN barely a month ago on the conditions these children are facing:
Crowded conditions are a common theme, and many children relay that day after day they receive the same meals of yogurt, oatmeal, soup, cold sandwiches, juice, burritos and cookies. They complain of a lack of vegetables.
     The guards also mock the children who are crying over their conditions after being separated from their parents.
     The cost at least as of a year ago, according to NBC, reached a whopping $775 a head per day, which is lower than the cost of staying at a Trump luxury hotel. In other words, we're not just being cruel to migrant children who, like their parents, had committed no crimes, we're being cruel for profit.
     A quick Google search using just "Republicans, child labor laws" are guaranteed to bring you countless hits on stories of Republicans slavering to weaken or entirely roll back child labor laws that actually started in Massachusetts in 1836. At the 2016 GOP convention, Stephen Moore, whom Trump originally picked for the Federal Board, actually advocated as "a radical" for the abolition of child labor laws and to put kids as young as 11 or 12 to work. That same year, our Secretary of Charter Schools, multi-billionaire Betsy DeVos, called child labor, “a gift our kids can handle.” And, in a truly Dickensian moment, in 2012, New Gingrich suggesting turning schoolchildren into janitors to earn their keep. Barely a week and a half after getting sworn into the US Senate, Mike Lee called child labor laws "unconstitutional."
     And in the glorious age of Trump, between 2017 and 2018, 276,000 more children were denied health care, the first time this decade the uninsured rate among children actually rose.
     And this, obviously, is just the tip of the iceberg. If I was so disposed, I could literally spend months writing a book on how much the "pro-life" right wing really loathes children, especially brown-skinned ones, as if they're getting all their policy cues from Oliver Twist.
     These would be, incidentally, the same exact scumbags who'd move heaven and earth, and viciously defend doing so, to keep their own kids from getting conscripted if we still had a draft.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Interview with Paula Shablo

     It’s difficult to pigeonhole the work of July’s Author of the Month Paula Shablo and perhaps that’s a good thing. She’s the author of the Emma/Roger paranormal series, dabbles in mystery and romance and had even written a science fiction novel entitled, S23HF50: (Subject 23, Human Female, Age 50), which sounds like a female/extraterrestrial version of Oldboy.

15) Paula, first off, how did you get into the writing game at a relatively late age?

I have actually been writing since I was a child, but never quite had the nerve to submit anything for publication. Well, that’s not entirely true--I have published poetry in several anthologies, and have written articles for newspaper stories from time to time. But until S23HF50, I didn’t give publishing much thought. When I wrote it, I had retired from the workforce on disability, and my son pushed me to look into self-publishing. I figured, why not give it a shot? I’m too old to play the waiting game, and I’ll never know unless I try. 

14) When you were growing up, who were your favorite authors and which ones do you think inspired you to write?

Oh, my gosh. I loved Mark Twain, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But I was also a huge fan of the Trixie Beldon mysteries, which were written over the years by several different authors. I got my library card--all by myself!--when I was in first grade, and I checked out everything the librarian would agree to let me read. My parents were not ones to say I was “too young” for particular books, but the librarian kept me in line. Ha ha. I didn’t read Peyton Place until I was in Junior High, but I read Lord of the Rings when I was about 10. Oddly enough, I didn’t read The Hobbit until I was an adult. Weird. 

I loved Peanuts and Spiderman. I can draw some pretty passable comics, and thought I might want to do that someday, but I really draw more for my kids and grandkids as an adult. One granddaughter insists on animals, the other on the ghost family. They can keep me pretty busy with a pencil sometimes. 

I do have a BS in Animation and Graphic Design, which has been good for nothing except being able to say that I have that degree. The only work I ever did in relation to my degree was designing the labels for Renew Lawn Care products, and that had less to do with the art-work, and more to do with my translation skills. 

I can’t say any one writer inspired my desire to write. I just always wanted to tell a story. I did have a teacher, in Junior High, who was a big influence. Every term we were given a list of vocabulary words and a genre. At the end of each term, we had to read our stories out loud to the class. Mine were almost always the longest ones, and no one ever talked while I was reading, so I guess they liked them. But some kids did call me “teacher’s pet” after class! I didn’t care. Edwin Dean Makie, you’re the best! 

13) In your fiction you seem to be drawn to the paranormal more often than any other genre. Is that attributable to actual paranormal experiences you’ve had?

If you have read “Emma: Ancestors’ Tales”, you know that the character saw her deceased great-grandmother in the bathroom when she was four years old. This actually happened to me. We visited with her shortly before her death, and after the funeral and all the family activities, we went home. I got up in the middle of the night, went to the bathroom, and there she was! She was dressed in white, she looked healthy and young, and I ran for my life! I am not brave Emma, I am chicken Paula. I wouldn’t be surprised if I wet myself, but I don’t remember. It was only later, thinking things over, that I realized she may have come to reassure me that she was much better now than she was the last time I saw her alive. 

I have a ghost. He’s been hanging out with me since I was a teenager. He’s not scary. I was a foolish kid who watched too many movies and read too many paranormal books about summoning spirits and the like, and decided to have a little seance. In retrospect, an idiotic thing to do! Do not try it! I got VERY lucky, in that “Jim” is a good guy. I could have gotten an evil entity, and then where would I be? I kind of consider him a guardian. He goes where I go. I think he teases Molly, the little dog, from time to time. 

My house in Colorado wasn’t haunted until the original owner passed and she came home. She gets a little feisty if we make changes, but nothing drastic. We leave the kitchen, come back and find all the cupboard doors standing open. We smell her perfume from time to time; it’s a lilac scent, very pleasant. She snores. That’s a very weird thing, if you ask me. While I was still working, my son would call and tell me he thought I had overslept and had checked my room, only to find it empty. I thought he was a little nuts, but after I retired, I heard it myself. Pets in the house are usually fine, but once in a while, they stare at nothing and then run away.

I have also been known to call everyone I know, checking to see who the “bad feeling” is all about, and I usually nail the subject on the first call. “How did you know I needed you?” is a question I have heard often. 

Of course, I love a good scary story anytime. Brr!

12) What gave you the idea to write S23HF50 and is that you on the cover?

Actually, S23 was written because someone asked me if I could write science fiction without describing a ship, a robot or any other science-y elements you might expect. My son is a big science buff, and it all started with a conversation he was having with some friends. I said science fiction didn’t necessarily have to be about outer-space, or any of those things, and my comment was met by that challenge. My son liked the result enough to push me to publish it. 

No! That’s not me on the cover. That is a stock photo from KDP’s many choices, and I hadn’t a clue what I was doing at the time, so I just picked it because it reminded me of Beth. The paperback has a cover that I designed myself. 

11) You’re someone who confesses to leading a “chaotic” life. So it’s too irresistible not to ask you what your typical writing day is like, if there’s any such thing. Do you use notebooks, a laptop or a combination of both? Do you have daily word goals?

I am a notebook hound. I have a ton of them, and for no particular reason, other than I might need one “someday”. There are fragments of works in progress in some of them. There are also lists of bills (like that has anything to do with writing!) family history notations and other research notes. Most of them are brand new, sitting on shelves and mocking me. 

I have a laptop, which follows me back and forth between Wyoming and Colorado, goes on vacations and also mocks me from time to time. 

I have a PC at home and a PC at my parents’ house and these are what get used the most. My “typical’ writing day is running to the PC to slam down a few paragraphs between loads of laundry, cooking and getting the parents to appointments or otherwise seeing to their needs. Molly, that little scamp, keeps me hopping, too. She’s just over a year old, so still a puppy, and needs lots of attention. She pays me back by keeping my back warm when I’m at the desk. My own personal “bun warmer”! Some days are quiet and I get a few pages done. Some days I might only get a paragraph or two. And there are days that I’m lucky to get something jotted down in a notebook. 

10) According to your blog, when you have some free time you go to Comic Cons and Cosplay conventions, often with your grandchildren. What do you like to watch on TV and for movies and does any of it inspire you as a writer?

Right now, I am deep into the AMC series NOS4A2, based on Joe Hill’s book. I enjoy The Good Doctor, and I’m kind of freaked out by Designated Survivor in light of current events. Naturally, I have seen every episode of Stranger Things and I love Supernatural. I don’t have a particular favorite genre for television. Love Chuck, Psych and Monk for the quirky humor. Love The Walking Dead for the great makeup and gore. 

As an artist, I love animation, and my most recent movie view was Toy Story 4. 3-D animation is a fascinating process, and I’m over the moon impressed with the people who do it. I was never good at 3-D modeling, but I enjoy animating and really enjoy lip-synch once the voices are done, so I know the tremendous amount of work that goes into every movie. 

I’m a huge Stephen King fan, as a reader. I watch the television series and movies adapted from his work, sometimes just to see how badly it can be done. I’m delighted when the adaptations go well, and appalled when they fail. 

As a writer, all these things do inspire me, even the crap adaptations that happen to good books, because I can often see ways that writers could have done things differently. 

9) Late last year, you’d also made an interesting contribution to post-apocalyptic science fiction with your novella, Starting in the Middle of the End. As with all your books, it’s very family-centric. What gave you the impetus to write that?

I think there must be something very family-centric about me that just rolls its way into my work. Family dynamics fascinate me, even the negative dynamics. I have great parents. My kids had a Mom who tried to be both. 

This book actually began as a nightmare. In the dream, I was the mother who was dragged off, knowing only that my baby had been tossed headfirst into a dumpster while strapped into a highchair, and that my older two daughters were hidden. But--for how long? Would they get away, or would they be found by those awful men? I couldn’t hear the baby crying--alive or dead? I woke up from this nightmare in tears, and it just would not leave my mind. Someone had to save those kids! So there I was, in the middle of the night, pounding away at the keyboard, making Penny grow up fast and take charge. 

8) Regarding Starting in the Middle of the End, is your main character Penny based on a member of your family?

Penny is the oldest child, a reader and determined to take care of her sisters. She resembles me, in that regard. But seven-year-old me would not have been as pragmatic as Penny, and my sisters would not have been able to be quiet, so I’d say these kids are definitely fictional. I do like to think that I would have dived into a dumpster to save the baby, but I have a tendency to overthink things, so I probably wouldn’t have moved fast enough. Poor baby. 

7) Thus far in your indie publishing career, you’ve tackled: Paranormal, Romance, science fiction. Are there any other genres or subgenres you’re thinking of taking on in the future like a comedy, a straight up detective mystery?

I’d like to tackle something funny someday. I have a detective in the works, although she started life as a graphic novel character back in the day. Back story is written. But it’s less mystery and more get-that-scumbag. 

6) Plotter or pantser? 

I try to plot, and then end up flying by the seat of my pants anyway. I do a lot of research that gets lost in the translation, and end of researching things that were never in the original plan. I guess I’m a planster. 

5) You’ve been in the medical field for much of your adult life as a medical coder, an optician and Ophthalmologic-related fields. Have any of your various professions informed you in your fiction?

It all comes in handy. In Emma, there are medical issues related to having twins that I wouldn’t have been familiar with without some background. She also shares my asthma/allergy issues and wears glasses, because real people are not perfectly healthy all the time. 

The Emma sequel will hit on some medical issues as well, and it’s not going to be fun. 

4) What’s the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you about writing?

Read everything you can get your hands on, and think about how you would handle the same subject. 

3) Any plans to continue Emma’s/Roger’s stories?

There will be a third and final Roger story, and Emma’s sequel is in the works, as well. I do think Roger will continue to show up in Emma’s stories, though. He’s probably living more as a ghost than he did in life, and could be an asset to her. 

2) Is there a genre to which you don’t feel you could do justice?

I could not write erotica. My idea of a great sex scene is, “Norman swept her into his arms, carried her into the bedroom and kicked the door shut behind him.” Old fashioned? Oh, well. 

1) What’s next for Paula Shablo?

Oh, boy. I just want to finish the first drafts of the two works-in-progress. I want to change a couple of my book covers--the ones with stock photos.

I want to fix everything for my babies so they never have to have an unhappy day. (Ambitious, aren’t I?)

Oh, and I want to find a cure for dementia so I can have my Dad back to 100% Paul. I miss that guy. But I love him 100% every day, no matter what. 

Below are links to Paula’s work:
  1. S23HF50 Kindle Edition paperback
    2. Emma: Ancestors' Tales Kindle Edition
    3. Roger's Revelation Kindle Edition
    4. Roger's Dilemma Kindle Edition paperback
    5. Starting in the Middle of the End Kindle Edition paperback
This one is a short story only available on Kindle:Valentine Knights

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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