My Fellow Sentient Beings Have Lost Their Minds.

 

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Somewhere, born of helplessness, hopelessness and hunger, a mad cruelty was created. In its bitterness, it sang a deadly descant designed to infect and poison the minds, spirits and hearts of star-born souls. While it has stalked this planet in one form or another for millennia, on a certain Friday night in a city known for Light and Enlightenment, it decided to make a killing field of cafes, a concert and a stadium. All of this in the name of a bastard child of the twisted interpretation of a spiritual philosophy.

We have lost ourselves if we think of this disaster within the narrow definitions of culture, geo-political boundaries, religion or gender. This problem simply cannot be constrained, defined or addressed in finite terms. The very germ, the infinitesimal seed of what has become a monster must be located and cured of its self-perpetuating madness.

Perhaps it began in hunger. Food is a very powerful tool used by those who seek the ego’s own ends as a means to control the hungry. We are born needing the nurturing of The One Who Birthed Us in more than simple lactation, but the comfort of arms to hold us, the warmth and rhythm of a human heart to steady undeveloped neurons and imprint compassion upon our being. Hunger is more than food. It is touch, it is a caress, it is a certain knowing that your being is welcomed into a larger present and part of a larger community. We need to belong.

Perhaps this undefined evil was born of illness. When our bodies are attuned to their maximum expression, we not only radiate health, we express that energy in activity. We sing with voices or movement or creativity of imagination. When we are ill, all we wish to do is to return to the state of being where there was no pain, no weakness, and no burdened breath. When one we love is sick, the compassion of the beings we truly are will seek any level, any amount of respite for our beloved. This drive, this will for another to live is often as strong as our own survival instinct.

As a final observation, perhaps the horrific monster capable of deluding young promising minds and spirits into acts of murderous depravity was created from the simple lack of love. There were no welcoming arms, no extended family or tribe for an orphan exempted from inclusiveness. No blanket woven from the softest fleece to enfold or embrace a shivering body. No shoes to caress tender feet, no gentle finger to wipe away frightened tears. No calming voice to ensure that the terrors of the night were simply wisps of dream and nothing to follow an unsure spirit into the next dawn.

We are far too quick to blame when we should be stepping back to look for that “alpha moment” when it all went so wrong, and was allowed or indeed enabled to fester into a deadly example. If we as a species are to survive for millennia to come, perhaps we should realize that the ‘human race’ is either outpacing itself in the mad dash to dive over the cliff, or we need to stop running from ourselves.

Sailing Unknown Waters

Earlier this afternoon, (after the painful introspection that we all need to do from time to time, but choose to refrain from) I discovered that part of the unease and unhappiness was due in part to the anticipated exit of the college kid from the nest. This is her senior year, and she already has staged plans to launch herself into that vast sky of Adulthood. The remainder of that reeking pile of gooey, emotional miasma is pure, clingy motherhood and the unwillingness to let go. Like most human beings, I am perfectly happy to dig a ditch and drag in a decorator, so overjoyed am I to contain myself in the habitat of a comfortable rut.

There is a joy in the simple terror of being drug out of the comfortable routine. Please note, I still use the word terror. I would have preferred ‘bloody screaming horror with a ninety-eight percent chance of pissing myself” but the husband claims I tend to over elaborate, exaggerate, embellish with prejudice. Of which I might own up to almost all of that, but only after a suitable period of retrospection. An epoch or so. Oh, that “joy” part? Only occurs when I discover some unique pattern to the scars left behind from planting fingernails, toenails and front incisors to the sides of the rut I am so damned determined to stay within.

catamaran

I must also admit to some pea-green jealousy when I espied another mother’s self-exposure of her anger and rage issues. Personally, I thought her more spectacular explosions of angst perfectly justified and I admired her self-control to refrain from reducing the gene pool by at least a half dozen self-righteous incubators of Chaos and kindred. I also wished I’d had her ear when I was mounting my campaigns against the windmills of public education for my ADHD challenged offspring.

All of the above aside, there is a certain private liberal arts college in Mt. Vernon, Iowa that took my daughter four years ago and has transformed a starry-eyed high school kid into a young adult with a stunning future ahead of her. I was so terrified to let her go 1100 miles away from Mom and Dad, even if I drove the big red truck with all that she deemed necessary. What if she couldn’t get her meds? What about the weather? I mean, she’s wasn’t exactly used to four seasons and all that white stuff that falls from the sky in the more Northern climes.

Now? Well, yeah – she’s convinced the parental units that moving to a Northern clime would probably be a good thing when the heat and allergens make it damn near impossible for them to get out and be as active as they need to be to stay relatively healthy. Score one for the offspring. There are probably more brownie points in the offing for her, but as she leaves our nest this one last time there is something else pending.

The Dane and I have only been without kids in the house for months at a time, this time there is the very real possibility of the child leaving for an overseas position. The others have fledged the nest, this is the last one to try out those wings. In truth, it’s not exactly an empty nest. The fur and purr-kids are still with us. Of those, only Toby has been with us almost as long as the kids, and we all know that eventually 13 year old ginger tomcats will find the Rainbow Bridge. I’m not ready for that transition, either.

I’m not and never will be a Domestic Goddess. Yeah, I can cook kick-ass Chicken & Dumplings, and the kids call me for my Mock Stroganoff recipe. Yeah, my grandfather’s chili recipe is an award winning fire starter. But, there is so much more to be said for the echoes of conversation, running footsteps, bus horns honking, dogs barking, kids laughing and the smell of pizza on a Friday night.

I don’t think I ever considered downshifting, and after all these years spent in “Adult Parent/Standard Cruise” I’m not sure that the old transmission remembers the lower, slower gear. Bear with me if you hear some gear grinding, or the chassis starts creaking, or worse yet one of the hoses fail. I’m assured by others that have made this change, that the slope is navigable and the waters will be somewhat constant. Further, the transition from Conestoga to Catamaran is possible.

Hell, with the size of my underwear these days, it is entirely possible.

But, if you hear me mumbling about needing a “tall ship and a star to steer her by” – please pull me aside and check my caffeine levels. For that matter, please double check that I’m not smoking the local wildflowers. Goddess only knows where this is going, but something assures me the journey will be epic.

Sometimes You Have To Laugh – Guest Post by Angel Martinez

Yeah, it’s that dreaded day of the week, Monday. However, to make it a tad bit easier on some of us, it’s also Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial start to the summer.   Some of us look forward to those long, lazy days – and some of us greet them with a feeling akin to nails scratching on a chalkboard. However and whatever your particular perception, it’s always better to find a good book and curl up somewhere shady and cool. Let your imagination spread its wings on those lovely summer breezes and glide where it may take you.

Angel is a Gift of Serendipity that I met at GRL 2014, and had seen online a couple of times. She’s come to be a friend and someone I can count on to give an honest opinion when those matter most. Without further ado, here’s her lovely guest post!

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Secret Vampire Shame – or Things Paranormal Authors Don’t Want You to Know 

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My writing’s about half and half – half serious, half not. Even the serious pieces have comedic moments, funny lines, and the occasional absurd situation. Even the humor pieces have moments of doubt and disaster. But I have a serious soft spot for the satiric, especially when something’s big and loud and popular.

Pack shifters, anyone? I keep saying I’ll write a send up of all the pack shifter tropes out there. You know, the whole Alpha/Beta, fated mates, knotting, mpreg, thrown out of the pack and needs a new one/ has to reclaim pack from evil overlord/stepfather/uncle-who-married-mom. Haven’t had time to do it yet, but some day. Some day…

Another paranormal send-up I think about involves vampires. Oh, come on. So, so much to make fun of. Though I certainly wouldn’t be the first. But one thing I’ve never seen discussed is vampire eating restrictions. Seriously, the transition to immortal can’t be an easy one. There have to be some. What if a vampire was afraid of a certain blood type? Or couldn’t feed from someone wearing a certain scent? Or thought that feeding directly from a vein is icky? What if a vampire had a bad reaction to certain blood components?

Since Lime Gelatin isn’t about a vampire, but has a vampire as a secondary character, I picked that last one. Poor Carrington can’t consume whole blood, so he has to obtain washed RBC’s (red blood cells washed with saline to remove most of the plasma and white blood cells) from the blood bank. Just not quite the same effect, trying to be a Prince of the Night when you can’t sink your teeth into someone. Can you imagine the try at a hookup conversation in a bar?

“Hello there, I’m a vampire.”

“Oh, cool! That’s such a turn-on. Wanna go out to the car and you know, I’ll suck you off while you suck on me?”

“Um. No, that is, I can’t. You’d make me sick.”

*potential hookup stomps off in an offended snit, possibly after punching aforementioned unfortunate vamp*

Now…about that shifter piece…

Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters

Offbeat Crimes 1

(part of Amber Allure’s 77th Precinct Pax)

Blurb:

Officer Kyle Monroe’s encounter with a strange gelatinous creature in an alley leaves him scarred and forever changed, revealing odd abilities he wishes he didn’t have and earning him reassignment to Philadelphia’s 77th Precinct where all the cops have defective paranormal abilities.

Just as Kyle’s starting to adjust to his fellow misfit squad mates, his new partner arrives. Tall, physically perfect, reserved, and claiming he has no broken psychic talents, Vikash Soren irritates Kyle in every way. But as much as he’d like to hate Vikash, Kyle finds himself oddly drawn to him, their non-abilities meshing in unexpected ways.

Now, if Kyle and Vikash can learn to work together, they just might be able to stop the mysterious killer who has been leaving mutilated bodies along the banks of the Schuylkill.

Excerpt:

Kyle sat up straighter, shifting to see between the heads in front of him. Soren looked like a poster boy for the model police officer, tall and straight, uniform crisp and sharp. He stood at parade rest beside the lieutenant, impassively surveying his new colleagues. A little knot of resentment lodged in Kyle’s stomach. At his own introduction to the 77th, he’d been nervous and fidgety, freaked out by the collection of…freaks. How can he be so calm?

“Officer Soren transferred from the Harrisburg PD—”

“Don’t they have enough freaky shit of their own up there?” Wolf called out in his rasping growl.

“Since Harrisburg is in our jurisdiction,” she continued with a quelling glance. “He’ll start out partnered with Monroe.”

“What does he do, ma’am? That it’s safe to put him with Kirby, er, Kyle?” Shira Lourdes asked as she flicked nervous glances across the room at Kyle. An empty chair slid away from her and fell over. Her partner, Greg Santos, shook his head and righted the unfortunate piece of furniture.

“Officer Soren’s abilities are his business, which he may or may not choose to share if you ask. And don’t bully him about it either, any of you.” Lieutenant Dunfee swept the room again, pinning each of her officers with her needle-laser gaze like captive butterflies. “Monroe, my office after briefing. Info on your current case.”

She dismissed them, stalking from the room with thunderclouds in her eyes. Kyle found himself approaching the new guy and trying his best not to be awkward. Did he offer to shake hands? Was it safe? Would the guy flinch like so many people did at the sight of Kyle’s scarred hands? Soren was even taller up close, six-foot-three of lean inscrutability, his blue eyes startlingly bright against smoky bronze skin.

“Um, hi, I’m Kyle Monroe.” Kyle fidgeted when Soren didn’t offer his hand either. “You’re with me, I guess. I’ll show you our spot in the squad room.”

Soren followed him silently and Kyle was starting to wonder if he was like Krisk in the not-speaking department until he finally spoke in a smooth, soft baritone, making Kyle startle and miss a step. “Why do they call you Kirby?”

“You’d hear it sooner or later, I guess.” Kyle shrugged. “It’s this thing I do, absorbing other people’s talents temporarily. If they’re close to me. Or touch me. Like Kirby, the little pink dude in the video game.”

“Ah.”

Just that? Soren didn’t edge away, or change expression at all. Was he made of stone? “It’s a thing. Everyone here has a thing.”

After a few more steps, Soren asked, “Always?”

“What… Oh, was I always like this? Who knows? I mean, maybe I’ve picked up stray thoughts or something, but no. It’s pretty recent. Knowing that I do this.”

Kyle took a wide arc around Vance as he entered the squad room, pointing to the double desk in the far corner, well removed from everyone else. “That’s ours. Coffee’s over there, but you might not want that coffee. Let me grab my file and we’ll go see the lieutenant.”

“So what’s your story, Soren?” Vance called across the squad room. “What flies your freak flag?”

“Yeah, what do you do?” Jeff Gatling stopped ’porting his banana from one corner of his desk to the other.

“I don’t really do anything,” Soren answered as he hefted the empty coffeepot. “Guess I’ll make fresh since I’m the new guy.”

He opened the top to remove the filter and every human voice in the squad room yelled out, “No!”

Most people would have startled, maybe dropped the carafe. Soren just blinked at the roomful of people gesturing wildly. He took the filter out and emptied it over the trashcan. “Why not?”

“You don’t want to do that.” Kyle stayed by his desk, a nice safe distance from the coffee station. “That’s Larry’s job.”

“Larry’s not keeping up then.”

The container of sweetener packets began to rattle. It shivered across the counter and leaped to a messy end, ceramic shards skittering across the floor. The desk that Krisk and Wolf shared rose from the floor several inches and slammed back down. Wolf fled with a squeaking yelp just before the desk flipped on its side.

Soren glanced toward Kyle. “Larry’s not a cop, is he?”

“He is…he was! A dead cop. Larry’s a ghost. He gets ticked if anyone else makes the coffee. Put the stuff back, please!”

“Larry?” Soren raised his voice but to all appearances remained completely unruffled. “I’m new here. I’m very sorry I invaded your jurisdiction. See? I’m putting the carafe back. Closing the top. Are we good, Larry?”

A breeze ruffled through a stack of papers, but no further mayhem ensued. The carafe slid from its pad on the coffeemaker and floated to the water cooler where Larry, who never manifested in a visible form, whistled tunelessly while he filled the carafe.

From his dim corner of the room, Carrington said in his dry, genteel way, “Welcome to the Island of Misfit Freaks…”

Giveaway:

2 commenters will be chosen at random (’cause I have a formula to do that and everything) for their choice of backlist Angel Martinez book!

About the Author:

Angel Martinez is the erotic fiction pen name of a writer of several genres. Her experiences as a soldier, a nurse, a banker, and an underpaid corporate drone give her a broad view of the world and a deep appreciation for the astounding variety of people on this small planet.

She currently lives part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head. She has one husband of over twenty years, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.

To contact Angel with praise, adulation, sarcasm, and complaints to the management (any management, she’s not picky, but it might not solve your flight reservation issue) please try these linky things:

Email: ravenesperanza@yahoo.com

Website: http://angelmartinezauthor.weebly.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amartinez2

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/angelmartinez

When You Least Expect It

galaxy 1

There are some days when the daily drudge of life grinds a person’s spirit to the point that stepping out of the routine is nothing short of lifesaving. Of late, the daily repeat of rain, thunder, wind and humidity had pretty well left me feeling like old toweling; I was ready to let the individual threads of whatever was holding me together release their integrity. I’d gotten to such a point within a manuscript that all I wanted to do was pull out a virtual torch and let fly with the fire. Yes, my finger hovered over the “delete” key.

Then, I saw that someone else was struggling with the same hated dance partner that I was fighting with, depression. I do so wish that the stigma of mental illness was a thing of the past. When you’re dealing with any of the monsters that live in that closet, it’s as if they have a life all their own. Your sanity is their prey and they are avid, cunning predators. Mental illnesses know where all the ‘buttons’ are because they hardwired the triggers. If you own a single erg of compassion, then when you happen across a similar soul fighting the same noble battle, there is no other choice but to lend a hand, a shoulder; Hell, take up arms right next to them.

Not all of us are blessed to find the “other” part of us in a relationship that goes beyond a simple pairing, but when that particular magic occurs, very few of us examine the depth of what it can truly be. We’re not a perfect species, even in relationships we tend to mess things up – sometimes beyond simple repair. Then, there are those of us that despite repeated failure find a way to, with great trepidation and despite the inner warning klaxon deafening us, open that door to our fragile, delicate soul centers one more time. When it’s not a fatal error, this becomes the very thing that poets and philosophers have waxed poetic over for centuries.

For near a quarter of a century, I have woven my spirit with that of another. Whatever it is between us, it has served us well as a medium against the criticism of others, as a nursery of hope to raise three children within, and a shelter against the storms of rising and falling fortune. We’ve found a safe harbor to moor within, and gypsy spirits that we may be, this is our base, our home – no matter where we rest our heads when sleep beckons. With all the hoopla over same sex marriage, legal rights, acceptance of sexual identity, etc. I stand baffled. What is it with humanity that we must insist on finding the most inane, bizarre conflicts of consciousness and inflate them to be the dread monsters of superstition?

In some form or another, we’ve managed to scrape together 2.5 million years of bi-pedal hominid history. Did we ever make it from sentience to enlightenment? Are we supposed to? Or, are we destined to dance around the next transformative force we discover and name it as a god, not unlike our distant forebears around a campfire? This day is too young and there’s too much blood in my caffeine system to follow this line of questioning any further.

I was thinking about my beloved last night as I watched the skies momentarily clear from the seasonal rainy weather. To that end, I will share the following:

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Infinity Plus One

Somewhere on the shores

of Eternity, we’ll still be

walking hand in hand

until the last star flickers

into the shadows of Infinity.

Then, we’ll just turn, one

to the other and murmur

into our shared breath, “That was

interesting. Shall we do it

again?”

My heart shall ever beat as

one with yours, our feet

will dance the same

steps, and our fingers

intertwine. All our joys,

fears and tears to mingle

in the same rain, dance

on the pebbles of the driveway,

and water the flowers in the garden

of our lives together.

One day, maybe the rest

of the 6 billion souls we

share air with will understand;

“I Love You” is just the beginning.

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P.S. Remember, Angel Martinez will be on this blog on the 25th. Come see what she has to share!

Gut-Level Real

Valentine heart ...wtf_thumb[1]

Hello, my name is Rhae C. and I’m an addict/alcoholic. Bet those of you who read this didn’t know this or maybe vaguely remember something I’d mentioned about it. Well, by the Grace of the Gods and Goddesses of my Ancestors, I’ve been clean and sober since May 23rd, 1988. Sanity is always questionable because not only did I get married to my fifth husband in sobriety, but I gave him children, too. I’ve admitted to being a hopeless romantic; seeing that I’ve done this marriage business 5 times should be proof that sobriety has its’ own rewards. The difference being this one ‘stuck’ for 22 years and we’re still trying to see if it’ll work out.

The short story of how I ended up in an AA meeting room with a bunch of folks just like me is pretty standard. Alcoholics on both sides of the good ol’ oaken cask of a family tree. After all, it is Texas and I was a fifth generation by-product of migratory Cajuns, Scots-Irish, Germans and a couple of wandering Native Americans thrown in because females were few and far between once you got west of the Mississippi before 1830. Add in a family history, again on both sides, of raising Hell because neither TV nor football had been invented yet and you get a tribe of instigators that put the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional. Then, at the ripe of age of 30 I found myself a single mother cross addicted to barbiturates and alcohol after a car wreck smashed my face and my upper jaw. That wasn’t enough to kick my ass into the Abyss; my best friend dies less than 90 days after a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. In truth, I should have died when I decided to swallow 2400mg. of a barbiturate compound and take a 6-pack chaser. Instead, I found myself reading The Big Book while kneeling next to the toilet waiting for the next round of nausea to empty the small intestine; the stomach had been cleared in the first 3 hours. Being unsuccessful in committing chemical suicide, I decided that I needed to ‘get right with God’ before I left my child in a park for CPS to pick up and adopt out while I found an 18-wheeler to jump out in front of. I met a Druid elder on the back patio of a non-denominational church who drug me into my first AA meeting. The rest, as they say, is history.

Lately, it has been an uphill struggle to maintain emotional balance; the college-aged kid is sick, the baby girl is getting married, and the eldest child has been inviting the Gods of Chaos to find her automobile for demolition derby practice. Did I mention that my hubby was interviewing for a management position, and that the disability insurance company managing my LTD payments has a stick up their keisters for more medical information? (Look, dimwits….the brain broke. It ain’t gonna miraculously fix itself any further than its’ been pushed to do. On a good day, I can remember the process to fix oatmeal without counting on my fingers and looking at notes.)

My therapist has been after me to find an AA meeting but bless her precious heart, she knows not what she asks. When my last beloved sponsor died with 24 years of sobriety, a part of my heart died with her. She knew that I could never do the Abrahamic religion ‘thing’ – Hell, SHE was the one who pointed out that I’d never stay sober unless I could admit that my personal integrity wasn’t attenuated to Judeo-Christian. I kept trying to go to meetings and earnestly find another sponsor, but nope; it wasn’t going to happen. Somewhere along the metamorphosis of The Program, the hardcore kick-butt sober folks disappeared. I was and remain eternally grateful to a sponsor that was a black-belt in reality based sobriety; she gave me the tools to keep on looking. What I was never prepared for was the repeated rejection of AA members who couldn’t accept a sober Druid.

While I miss the coffee and the companionship of the fellowship of Bill W. friends, I don’t miss the hostility when I step out of a meeting before The Lord’s Prayer is said at the end of each meeting. Not my faith, not my prayer. If I’m not welcome to step out, then why should I step in? I don’t want that kind of sobriety. I learned early on that staying sober is an all or nothing kind of deal. I prefer to maintain a personal integrity with my own spirituality than to compromise because someone else is uncomfortable with my personal choice in a relationship with a Higher Power.

So, it is a bit of a conundrum that I face. I wish to abide by the wishes of my counselor and therapist, but I have yet to find a place to ‘hang my hat for an hour or so’ in a place of safety with other like-minded folks struggling to stay sober in the face of a world gone mad and getting crazier by the day. Some days, I just stay sober 15 minutes at a time because that’s the best I can do. Some days, it never crosses my mind. That is, until we have insane holidays like Valentine’s come up and trigger all the past memories of pain because a little freckle-faced geeky girl got rocks, cat turds and dirt clods in her Valentine’s mailbox instead of cheesy paper cards in little white envelopes.

For the little girl I used to be, tomorrow I’m going to buy her watercolors and a box of those little valentine candy hearts. I’m going to get her a small chocolate heart and a little stuffed Pepe’ LePew. I’m going to buy a bottle of strawberry milk like they used to serve in school for Valentine’s Day only, and a box of graham crackers. While my beloved husband may have some plans for us tomorrow, I’m going to ask him for a couple of hours so I can give the little girl I used to be an alternative to the remembered pain and instead replace those memories with all the happiness she deserved….and I’ll stay sober because I choose to.

For all of us out there that struggle with this holiday as well, I send you gentle hugs and love and strawberry flavored milk. Happy Valentine’s Day.