Sunday, April 23, 2017

Moving On...

     So… these past few weeks have been a tad stressful. I can’t believe all the support I’ve received and just how much love there is in this small community. Keep it coming y ‘all. Give it all you have and then some. I think we all need these virtual hugs.
     I’d like to say to ignore those who seem hell bent on causing all this drama, but at the same time, I think they need to be called out on their crap. I don’t know. I just had to step away for a bit before I blew my top. But anyway, it’s time to move on. I know that I am.
     It’s a busy time…
     I have been so busy it isn’t even funny. I have a new audio book coming out that is just amazing. Greg Boudreaux (Greg Tremblay) has done The V Unit for me. I knew that he would be the only one who could pull this one off and wow has he blown it right out of the water. Simply amazing. It is so good I didn’t even recognize the story as one I wrote. It is that good. I could actually see the characters come to life in my mind.
     To celebrate the event, I had a new cover designed for the book. I have to admit, the old cover was pretty much crap and heavens knows, I sure caught crap for it. The French readers especially hated it, so… ta-da! A new masterpiece by the fabulous A.J. Corza. And here it is!

     Don’t ya just love it? I know I do. It fits the book so much better. I’ll let you know when it has been approved by ACX and up for purchase.
     On top of that great bit of news, I also have a new book coming out. It will be release on May 13th, so very soon. The cover reveal with me May 1st, something else for me to look forward to. I think it is a great story. Hope everyone will think so as well. I always tend to hold my breath before release day. It’s a wonder I ain’t dead. 
     What else…
     Oh, I will be doing a bit of traveling this year. I’m very excited about that. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and making some new. I can’t wait to go back to Paris. Major book signing there on May 13th, release day. I dedicated the new book to the French readers since they were so good to me. Oh, and my absolute favorite composer lived there and is buried there. Felt natural to write a book in his and their honour.
     I will spend a few days in London. Hopefully I will have a nice surprise for everyone if things go well. It’s a secret for now, but keep your fingers crossed!
     I’m so looking forward to attending Euro Pride Con in Berlin. I’ve never been to Germany, so that is exciting. Not exactly sure what to expect, but I know others who will be going so I know that I will have a good time. Hope that a lot of readers will attend. It is always nice to put a face to those who I’ve befriended online.
     Then I will be at ShiMMer in Birmingham, UK. I know that will be a lot of fun. Sean Kerr and Joseph Lance Tonlet are already planning something. Bring it on boys. I am more than ready and can handle it. (famous last words.) Should be a blast.
     Since I have house guests this week, I’m going to cut it short today. That and I really need more coffee. Go out and attack the world with a fierceness. Do something for someone else. Remember, Santa is always watching!
     Have a grrreat week, y’all.
     p.s. Thank you everyone for the nice comments and support of the last two weeks.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hurt or Pissed?

     So… today I sit and I cry. This Easter Sunday, the time of rebirth, the time of rising, I sit and I cry. I remember… I remember my Jim who lost his battle with AIDS. I remember the time… I remember…
     Today I was so upset, so angry, so… just so persecuted. I feel so hurt and betrayed. I feel marginalized by a lesbian, a person that I fought for, a person who I was arrested for. This person told me to sit down and to shut up; a person who told me that my opinion didn’t matter and who hurt me to my very core. Me. I let this happen. It is my fault that I let this person into my inner sanctum.
     I am better than this! I am stronger than this… or so I thought. It is harder to fight the fight when it comes from within I guess. I fought for all our rights, gay, lesbian and bi. I stood, I protested, I yelled and I screamed. I passed out pamphlets; I gave out condoms, I… I was there. I… thought… I felt… my voice mattered.
     And now, I’m told that within the M/M genre to sit down and shut up? I’m told that my history, my feelings, my… existence does not matter. My contribution, the love that I had for another man, my Jim, our romance, our love that lasted for seventeen years is… is immaterial… is what? Not worthy of your acceptance? That you write about gay men and make money off our lives and you have the unmitigated gall to tell me to sit down and shut up?
     My start…
     I began writing gay fiction to supplement my income that was forced upon me because of a disability. I needed this money. I wrote because I needed to do something. Anything. I did not start writing gay romance as romance. I wrote what I know. I wrote stories that I wanted told. I wrote from my heart and the things that I’d experienced. I wrote… I wrote to keep me alive. I wrote because I needed a new purpose. I wrote because it was fun and exciting. I wrote because it gave me life. I wrote for me. I wrote my life.
     And now…
     I write for what? To be spit on from some cis heterosexual who has no clue what I’ve been through as a gay man? I write for some lesbian who I was arrested for so that she and her wife could have equal rights under the law? What cause did I give so much time to, to be treated as a lower class person, in a genre that I know so much about?
     Note: Gordon Merrick – The Lord Won’t Mind – sixteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in 1970. A gay romance, the first of a three part series. The M/M genre started by who? You have a degree? In what… fantasy?
     I turned my computer off. I turned my phone off. I turned… off…
     I watched ‘Milk’ with Sean Penn. I cried. I remembered all that suffering. I felt again everything that I experienced over thirty years ago. I knew what I was fighting for and this was all pre-AIDS. And then AIDS destroyed my life and ended so many lives.
     I am sorry that you, Ms. Megan Derr had such a bad experience. I’m sorry that a gay men made you feel… less than… whatever. However, how dare you tell ME to sit down and shut up? How dare you tell me and countless others to be silent when it was we, those of us who gave our time, our lives, so that you could marry a person of the same sex? How dare you put men down in your obvious hatred of anyone with a penis? How dare you lump every gay man or is it men in general, into your realm of hatred?
     In the end…
     I feel pity. I feel sorry for this poor unfortunate soul who knows so little of gay history. I feel sorry for anyone who buys into this shame, this abomination, because that is what is it. This self-gratification of sexual titillation of gay men’s lives is nothing more than voyeurism if the reader has no respect for others personal lives, the struggles, the battle that was and is still being fought just to be able to love who we love.
     Execution is still the penalty for homosexuality in numerous countries. Today, in Chechnya, they are rounding up gay men and torturing them to give up the names of other gay men, meanwhile stating that there are NO gays in that country.
     Meanwhile, the Kindle Alexander’s are quite okay with gays being rounded up and dumped into the Outback of Australia and let them kill each other off while THEY make money off very intimate details of their/our lives, not very realistically if I may add.
     I will say this…
     Tragically, it only goes to show how much we have lagged behind. We, the gay male community and those who support us have to go to truly gain equal rights. Not gay rights, but equal and human rights to be who we are. To be able to love those who want to be able to love and not be ashamed by the simple gesture of holding hands, to sneak the quick kiss, to exchange those special glances without being bashed in the head, or in this case, the gut-wrenching forums of social media by those WE have supported, by those who we thought were standing with us. NOT standing behind us, ready to push us in front of the proverbial bus.
     In closing…
     I weep because I see how far we as a human race have come and how far we have regressed. Lives matter, no matter the race, the gender or the… ____ YOU fill in the blank. Correct me if I’m wrong: ‘Love Thy Neighbor’. We are everywhere, no matter the gender, no matter the race.

NOTE: I wanted to really rant and give y’all a good what-for’ but… 
That’s all I’ve got… for now. I am going to be taking some time off since I have house guests coming this week and quite frankly, I just need to step back. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Let Me Piss Some People Off..

     So… I’m sitting here as it’s about to turn midnight and I can’t sleep. There has been something gnawing at me for the better part of a week and I think I’m go to throw caution to the wind and just speak my mind. I know I’m going to piss some people off and well… tough. Suck it up buttercup.

     NOTE: I have said it before and I’m going to say it again. If you want stop bullying towards LGBT kids, then gay history needs to be taught. Only when ignorance is shown to be just that, only then will it be stopped.

     There was something said by a M/M author this week that at first, I shrugged and said, “Well, that’s nothing new.” and proceeded to go on my merry way. Mostly because I was really busy this week and didn’t give it much thought. But… it lingered there in the back of mind. And as I was lying in bed, trying to get to sleep, it just kept making me more and more angry to the point where I gave myself a headache and got up to write this.
     Now then, let me be perfectly clear here: I am in no means attacking this author for making this identity statement. However, I would like to point out a few things to all the women, and there have been quite a few, who have said to me that they identify as a gay man, especially in this genre.
     They clearly have no clue as to how insulting this can be to gay men, especially those who are as long in the tooth as I am. I am going to try and temper this and be as logical and as forthcoming as I possibly can and not insult too many people, which I seem to be able to do without even trying. It seems I have that talent, or so I’ve been told.
     First off, there have been gay people for as long as well… there have been people. I am only going to give the bit of history that I can attest to, since I lived it.
     Back in the sixties there was a group, founded out of San Francisco, if you can imagine that, who decided that homosexuals deserved to be treated equally and basically get homosexuality off the list of mental illnesses. They dressed in business attire and walked around carrying signs stating that they were not sick and that this was not a life style choice and blah, blah, blah. They got a little recognition but mostly they were pretty much ignored.
     They implored gay people (this was before lesbians broke off and decided they didn’t want to be lumped in with the men) to not try and shove their sexuality down people’s throats and to act like the normal moral population around them. Yeah… well, I think we all know that didn’t work.
     Here come the ‘70’s and the revolution was upon the establishment. Kent State happened, Viet Nam was in full swing and young people were really tired of being told they were wrong and basically immoral. Bras were burned, Roe v Wade was judged and damn if our country wasn’t changing and fast.
 Then Stonewall happened. Drag queens were on the national news, riots happening and… there you have it. It got right up in everyone’s face, drag queens, butches on bikes and the whole sordid queer community got right up in America’s face. The fight was on and let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty.
     I can attest that being chased down 10th Street in Atlanta by rednecks with baseball bats wasn’t exactly on my agenda that particular Saturday night, but it was on theirs. By the way, those aluminum bats hurt just as much as those wooden ones, in case you wanted to know. Eggs, rotten veggies, stones, bricks… yep, those hurt too.
     I can’t even tell you how many gay murders happened that were never reported by any news agency. Who cared? It was just another dirty faggot. Many gay bashings were never reported because there was just no use in it, so why bother. We learned to deal with it. We fought back when we could, but most of the time it was by cowards who ganged up on one or two gays and beat the every-loving shit out of them. For them, it was just sport.
     I don’t know of a gay man alive who hasn’t at one time or another held their breath, afraid that they may have said the wrong thing, or were terrified of… being themselves. Oh there may be a few who maybe in the twenties and never had to be afraid, but chances are, those are a very few.
     Back in the ‘70’s, ‘80’s and even 90’s there was a good chance of losing your job, getting kicked out of your apartment or disowned by your family if it was found out you were gay. This was a real fear and justifiably so. It happened. I saw it. I was there.
     Then we had AIDS. The President of the United States refused to say the word. During his whole term, he only said the word once and that was because he was shamed into it. But he only said it that one time.
     Our government turned their backs on us. Health insurers turned their backs on us and refused to cover AIDS. Families, friends turned away and those who didn’t were just afraid of us. Hairdressers started losing customers. Waiters were no longer needed. Not that they were sick, they just happened to be gay. People were terrified of catching ‘the gay disease’.
     It was the gay and lesbian community that pulled together and supported each other. That’s not to say there weren’t some good straight people who stood there with us, but they were a very small minority. I knew some fantastic nurses who tended to our sick and dying who went far beyond the call of duty. They became family and fought the fight right alongside us. But as I said, they were very few and very brave souls. They also lost a lot during those years, just by association.
     It was our own community who had fundraisers to pay for rent, food and medications. It was the gay community that educated and looked out for one another. Not the government. Not our neighbors and in many cases, not our families. It was us, our own that took on that job and quite often that was all.
     I cannot begin to tell you how many friends and loved ones that I lost during those years. As many of you who know me, I don’t even send out Christmas cards because of it. (This past year I did send out a few for the first time since 1990.) That is how hard it was for me personally.
     So when a woman, who is my age or younger who says to me “I identify as a gay man,” I cringe. What I want to say is… have you ever been beaten with a bat? Have you had to sit there and hold the hand of the man you’ve loved for the past seventeen years die, drowning, his lungs full of pneumonia, for which there is no cure for and no one but you gives a whole goddamn? Have you ever attended a funeral once a week for a full year? Have you ever had to call all your friends and see if you couldn’t find a place for a young kid to live because his parents just kicked him out or left on the side of he rode because his parents found out there were gay? Have you ever been afraid twenty-four hours of the day, looking over your shoulder constantly?
     This was a very real life for me and for many gay men. So when you want to say so casually, that you identify or feel like a gay man, I would really appreciate it if you would consider all the things I’ve said and think long and hard first. Does the reality of history still make you feel the same?
     I think the thing that really struck a nerve with me and what got to me the most was this one author did a semi-apology after the identify thing and then bragged about their book sales going up; book sales that depict gay men’s lives.. sort of. Of course this was only after they got called on the carpet for it. I felt as if someone had just spit in my face. Yeah, that hurt and pissed me off.
     Now, I think that I can safely say that we, the LGBT community greatly appreciate all the support that our friends and allies give us. We truly do. Our communities are stronger and much better for it. We feel safer now than ever before… for now. (I’m still holding my breath on that one for the time being.) We thank you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, I really, really do. But please, before you make such a broad and casual statement, think about what you’re saying and who your audience is. There is a lot more to gay men than just a rosy romance with a lot of fucking in it.
     Normally, this is where I tell everyone to go and do something nice for someone else. Today, I’d think I’d like for everyone to just take a step back and do a little self-reflection. Gain a little peace, as I plan on doing.
     Have a grrreat week y’all,

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Let Me Explain...

     So… I’ve not posted a blog in a few weeks. Why? Well, to be honest, I didn’t have much to say. There is so much political upheaval and discourse around that I haven’t felt like doing much of anything. That and I’ve been on a diet and that always makes me grumpier than I already am.
     There’s been something going on recently that makes me want pick up my biggest cast iron skillet and bonk someone over the head with it. Grrr… there are times when I’m afraid I’m going to chew my tongue off from staying quiet. This whole being nice goes against my grain. Hell, I’ve always had a hard time sticking to the rule of ‘if you can’t say nothing nice, keep your fucking mouth shut.” That really is difficult for me.
     Let me explain…
     Thursday and Friday of this week, I asked two simple questions and asked for feedback. The question on Thursday was:
So, let's talk cheating...
is cheating...
a. having sex with someone other than your partner?
b. going behind your best friend's back and stealing their ideas?
c. copying others work?
d. convincing others that your side is the only true side when having a dispute with someone else.
     Wow… I wasn’t expecting such a response. The majority of you said all of the above. A lot of you delved in a bit on the first one with it being an open relationship. Some said that while D was underhanded, dirty, gaslighting (whatever that is) and just wrong, but didn’t think it was cheating. Of all the responses, only two (I think) were men. That’s a pretty overwhelming majority saying that all would be considered cheating.
     Then on Friday I followed up with this question: Okay, so yesterday I asked about cheating, that got a lot of good response, Thanks for that! Here is a follow up question.
     Once that trust has been broken, can you get it back? How willing would you be to trust them again?
     Whaooo Nelly, old onto yer horses!
     Damn, when y’all git your dander up, you sure enough go for it. At this precise moment, (with only two men chiming in) 98% of you said that trust could not be regained. Wow! I think most of you jumped to the conclusion of cheating sexually on a partner. Some of you gals are harsh. LOL
     Now I’ll explain…
     Sometime ago, I had a friend, someone I considered a close friend do me dirty. Of course she doesn’t get it, or does she. Deep down, I think she does. Anyway, it was a real breach of trust, especially under the circumstances and previous conversations. It was backhanded, underhanded and even sidehanded if you ask me. Backstabbing? Maybe not quite that far… at that point, but yes before all was said and done, I’d say it was.
     Now, let me also add that this wasn’t necessarily the first time either. I shared a story idea and I’ll be damned if she didn’t turn right around and write the damn thing. I let it go. I didn’t say anything. But from that point on, I didn’t share story ideas with her. For the most part, I just felt used, used on sooo many different levels. With so many of you saying that trust is a major issue for you, I don’t feel quite so bad in turning my back on this person. I actually feel even more justified.
     What the…?
     ‘Sigh’ This person has started making overtures to win me back over. It’s not going to happen. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice and your ass is done. Unfortunately, I’m just too trusting a person. It has come to bite me in the ass so many times, and I never seem to learn. But once it does, I’m done.
     The funny part…
     Oh hell, you would not believe the private messages I got after that first post. Lawd have mercy… LMAO Ya gotta love people in this genre. They can be so kind and so loyal. I do love y’all. Some thought I had somehow slipped up and gotten a boyfriend who then cheated on me. Yeah… no that didn’t happen. I’m tellin’ y’all now, I’m almost virginal! I promise you that!
     Then some thought I was going to write a book about it. It wasn’t an idea at the time, but now… I’m not sure. Maybe? I had one fellow author just up and tell me not to do it! It’s be a huge mistake. I’d never recover from it! Yeah, well I was told that about doing a book about incest too. Funny that the thing was a huge success and still sales well. Anyway, now y’all know the whole story.
     Moving right along now…
     Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know I’m going to be doing a book tour? Well if you didn’t, I’ll tell you now. Hey, y’all, I’m doing a little book tour. Upcoming Travel Schedule:
London – May 5 thru 10
Paris – May 11 thru 17 I will be doing a book signing on the 13th so please, come find me.
Venice May 18 thru 23 – Party with readers on the 20th (strippers appreciated! He he he)
Me time May 23 thru June 19)
Barcelona June 16 thru 19
Berlin June 20 thru 25 Euro Pride Con. Hope to see a lot of y’all there!
Birmingham, UK – July 1 for ShiMMer book con. If you would like to pre-order books for any of the cities listed, please follow this link. I cannot guarantee books will be available if you don’t.

     So there ya go. If you want to find me in any of these fine cities, just let me know and we’ll do a little get together. Y’all know I’m always up for a cup of coffee.
     That’s about all I got for now. Go be happy. Make someone else happy. Have sex.      Have a grrreat week, y’all,

Monday, March 6, 2017

Where in the World is Max?

     So… here I am… sitting… having coffee. I need to be trying to write a blurb, but my head just ain’t in it. I was just reminded that I needed to do a blurb about what I’ll be doing this year… as in where will I be. Also, you will note the fantasy fairy tale images. There's a reason... be patient!
     Yes, as most of you know I do love my coffee in the morning. Some have asked if I drink too much. Not anymore, or not as much as I used to. I used to easily drink anywhere from 20-24 cups a day. I was also working full time and my days were usually around 10-14 hours a day. To me, that was what got me through it.

     Now… after three heart attacks, I’ve cut back. Waaaay, back. I now only do 3-4 cups a day and I try to not have any past nine in the morning. Pretty drastic, huh? So for those who think I drink too much coffee… give me a break. As you can see, I have cut back, so nah!
     Oh… back to the main topic…
     Where will I be in 2017? Well… I’m about to tell ya. I’m happy to announce that I will be returning to Europe this year. I was supposed to have gone last year, but sometimes there are things beyond our control that happen, and that was the case last year. It sucked, but I’m going to make sure that I make up for it this year.
     So… here is the schedule:
     London May 7 – 10 As of yet, I have no real plans other than some sightseeing. If anyone wants to get together, just let me know. I hope to catch up with some old friends while there.
     Paris May 11 – 17 Book signing and release party for new book May 13. I hope to see some of my favorite people there. I can’t wait to face-plant into a plate of éclairs!
     Venice May 18 – 23 I get to spend my birthday in Venice! How cool is that. Can’t wait to meet some of my Italian readers! Anyone know of a good stripper in Venice? He he he
     Hmm, from the 23rd until June 19 I’m going to have a little me time. Yeah, I’m going to spoil myself a bit. But everyone needs a vacation.
     Barcelona June 16 – 19 Anyone in Barcelona?
     Berlin June 20 – 25 Euro Pride Con! Going to be there for this event and looking forward to it. I’ll have books there for anyone who might want one. This is one event that I’m really looking forward to.
     Tampa July 6 – 9 Rainbow Con. Looking forward to seeing readers and authors. So many great authors from the Florida area. Hope to see many readers.
     There, that’s all I have pertaining to travel and where I'll be. No, I will not be attending GRL. So please, don’t ask.

     While I’m at it…
     I’m really looking forward to Euro Pride Con in Berlin this year. I’ve always wanted to visit Berlin. Never thought I’d get the chance, but here I am… I’m going. Are you?
     I’ve heard so many great things about this book conference. I just checked the attendee’s list and I was amazed at how diverse it seems. There are people from all over Europe going. Hell, there are people from all over the WORLD going! How cool is that?
     Think about it… people from around the globe will be meeting together just because they like reading about men having sex. Okay… it isn’t just about them having sex, but they do like to read gay male books, which is something I’d never thought I’d see. I mean it wasn’t even close to a thought, it was so remote.
     I also like that it isn’t a huge event like GRL. I prefer smaller groups personally. It really gives you time and space to really talk to people. For me, that is what it’s all about. So… who’s going to meet me there?

   Now... about the cartoons...
   Who likes fairy tales? Okay… who remembers fairy tales? Ever wonder about how it might go to have a gay themed fairy tale? Hmm… makes me think. (Yeah, it did kind of hurt.) I recently got the complete collection of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I’d forgotten how gruesome some of those stories can be. I still loved ‘em though. They do remind me of my childhood.
     It got me to thinking about trying my own hand in writing a fairy tale or two. What do you think? Perhaps a twist on a favorite, or something outside of the box? Got any plot stallions to share? Let me know, y’all. I'm going to be spending some time in a small town in France while attempting this. And yes, I plan on visiting a castle/chateau or three! So looking forward to that.

     I guess that’s about all I have for this week. Remember that it is always better to give than receive. Have you done something nice for someone lately? Helped someone who needed a little boost up? I’m sure you have! Way to go on getting some of those good Karma Coins in that big pink piggy bank!
    Have a grrreat week, y’all,

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Letter...

     So… this week has been a bit of a jumbled up mess for me. I don’t tend to be an overly emotional person, but there was an incident, a few actually, that made me want to go all redneck kinda postal on someone. Never a good thing.
“It’s all in the sauce.” – Fried Green Tomatoes
     I wanted to write a letter, a letter that I’ve written more than a few times before. Some were sent but most were only seen by my eyes. It’s a letter that I wish someone had written to me. Yes, I needed this very same letter once upon a time. It was a brief time in my life, but it is one that might have moved things along a bit better, a bit quicker had I received it. Here is the letter…

     My dear, dear friend; I’d like to thank you for you being you. You’re one of the most gracious ladies, a term I don’t use lightly, that I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. You light up a room when you walk in. Your smile, laughter and sense of humor are truly gifts which you selfishly give away time and time again. You’re one of the most intelligent and eloquent people I’ve met in sometime. You’re the type of person people, like myself, are drawn to like a magnet.
     Ladies, like yourself, should be treated with respect and honor, like family heirlooms or fine crystal. When I see and witness anything other than that, I become very upset. This week, I have seen you mistreated, on several occasions and it hurts me. It hurts me because it hurts you and those around you as well, myself being one of them.
     I understand the wish for everyone to just get along. I see the struggle of trying to maintain a calm and enjoyable environment, but there are times… at some point we all need to stop, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Examine the circumstance and dissect it and ask what the hell is going on.
     This is where I’m going to take the bull by the horns. As it was told to me by someone both of us love dearly “—that’s why you’re kitchen and I’m management.” This is so very true. So, I’m going to just put it bluntly… your partner is a bully.
     Bear with me for a bit longer, if you please…
     I’m going with what I’ve personally seen, observed, witnessed and then heard. This person has slowly and methodically alienated you from friends and family. This is always the first step that often leads to domestic abuse and many times results in violence. I’ve seen it numerous times before in both straight and gay relationships. I’ve also been on the receiving end of this, so I know how it feels. How does it feel? It feels like you’re constantly trying to juggle situations so that everyone is happy. It’s a hard balancing act, which never seems to stop. It’s exhausting. Always pacifying the aggressor, making excuses, trying to hide the obvious misbehavior and bad manners. The feeling of wanting to crawl under the table and hide at times. Yes, I’ve been there. I do know. It feels like a broken record that will never end.
     This type of person will bring you you’re coffee in bed, spontaneously bring you flowers and small gifts. Things that will keep you enamored, captivated and basically string you along. All the kinds of things you want in a partner. Things that make you think that they care, and in a way, in their own way, they probably do, but then they are also the abusive bully.
     I have now witnessed the snide remarks this person makes when you’re not around. How disrespectful they are to those who, like you, are just trying to get along and do the best that they can while being as supportive as they can. I’ve now seen the wedge they are using to further drive away those who love and care for you. It is happening, make no mistake about it. It is happening.
     Every one of us makes choices. Some good, some not so good and then some that are just plain bad. Heaven help me, because I’ve made a lot of bad ones and paid for it in the end. It’s like that old theory—“for every action there is a positive or negative reaction”. Yeah… I’ve had my butt kicked several times with this one. The point here is it is your choice. However, there are times when we need someone to tell us the truth, as much as we might not like it or agree with it.
     I may be putting it too simplistically, but you are fast approaching a crossroads where you are going to have to make a choice. Staying with this person means that people are going to continue to pull away, distance themselves from you. It doesn’t mean that they love or care for you any less, it is just simply that they are tired of being on the receiving end of this bully. As I mentioned, people can and do make choices. No one wants to put up with that type of crap and eventually… they won’t.
     If you have people, friends and family, who consistently tell you there is something wrong, at some point you need to pay attention. As hard as it may be, we all need a reality check. You may want this person to be the perfect one for you, the everlasting, undying love that we all want and crave, but… sometimes it just isn’t.
     Who can you trust? Personally, I can count on one hand and have fingers left over of those I feel I can truly trust. Listen to those who are closest to you and will always have your back. In your heart of hearts, you will know what the best decision will be for you.
     You know when people say it is a new chapter in your life when you make a major change? Yeah, I think of it as opening a whole new book. The world is your oyster. The possibilities are endless. Yada, yada, yada. The clichés are endless. Well guess what? It’s true! There is a great big world out there. There are some wonderful people and great adventures to be had.
     I had a very good and close friend who is now gone. I miss her terribly. She married such a person and stayed with him for eighteen years. When she divorced him, she told people “I’ve just lost two-hundred and forty pounds!” They would look gobsmacked at her. “Really?” they would ask. “Yep, I finally kicked that bastard to the curb,” she’d say, smiling.
     Afterwards, she led a full life. She traveled. She reconnected with friends, who had stopped coming around. Spent more time with her children and grandchildren, whom she’d become somewhat distanced from. She had a grand time. I was able to spend some very good quality time with her in her later years. She was happy and content with her life. We should all be so lucky, right?
     So, my dear lady, I wish you all the best of luck and I want you to know, that I will always be your friend. I will always be there for you. I only wish you the best and brightest of futures.
     Your devoted friend,
     If you know of someone who might be in need of this letter, please feel free to forward, copy and paste or whatever you need to do. No one deserves to live in fear. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Proud Curmudgeon!

     So… I’ve been in quite the quandary these past few weeks. Busy beyond all belief and then just… ugh… I feel like Madeline Kahn… I’m so tired….
     Yeah, I am… 
     Yep, I will admit it. I have no qualms about admitting it. I’ll carry a flag. I’ll show you an I.D., if I had one. I’m a proud recluse; a curmudgeon of the highest order. People will often scoff at my proclamation. They don’t believe me. Trust, me when I say, I’m really not kidding. Nope, I will readily hand you your ass if I feel that is what you need. Trust me. I ran a professional kitchen. I can make Gordon Ramsey look like an amateur when it comes to dressing down people. BTW, he really is a total ass. Can’t stand the man.

     I’m not quite sure who came up with this whole notion that I’m some sort of fuzzy teddy bear. First off, I’m not really fuzzy. I’d always wished I was, but alas, it was not meant to be. Oh, and I’m rather short. Too short for a real bear obviously. Did you know that I’m also Southern? Oh hell… do I have to explain that as well? Well I’m not gonna. Go read ‘Gone With the Wind’, if you feel the need to know.

     It’s not that I hate people. Alright, I don’t hate most people, that better? I just find them irritating. They tend to piss me off. This has been a growing within me for the better part of three decades. The more relaxed our society becomes, the more likely people are going to forget basic manners. Whatever the fuck happened to ‘please’ and ‘thank you’? That doesn’t even take into account simple common courtesy!
     Don’t even get me started on what people will say online, behind their blinking little screens, their anonymity protected, or so they think. I know I’ve said it before, but I’m gonna say it again, right here… right now. If you don’t have something nice to say, shut the fuck up. I don’t want to hear it and the chances are, no one else will either. You got something nasty to say, go tell it to your BFF or in a mirror. Chances are, you’ll get a much better response.
     If I want to bitch about something, I have a completely rational, highly intelligent conversation with myself. No sense in dragging someone else’s poor tired ass into it now is there? I don’t even need to look into a mirror to do that. I can sit and weed my little garden and just fuss up a storm all by myself and have a wonderful time doing it, thank you very much.
     Stay away…
     I’ve really stayed away from social media lately. I already have high blood pressure; I don’t need someone else trying to force a stroke on my ass. Just when I thought… hmmm… I’ll go check things out, BAM! I get hit in the face with something that just pisses me off to the highest point of pistivity! And it didn’t even have anything to do with politics.

     Okay, I get that people need to talk about things. Their feelings… their… whatever. Go get a therapist. Tell a clergy or someone who will listen, nod their head, give you a blessing, let you rant and then shut the hell up. There are just some things the rest of us really don’t need or want to know.
     Bragging will push me right over the edge. If you do something nice for someone, that’s wonderful. However, the best part of that is keeping it to yourself, knowing that you’ve done a really good thing. You don’t need to brag about it, patting yourself on the back for a job well done defeats the purpose if you ask me. You know you did it. Feel good about it and move along. Go do it again for someone else. There exceptions to this rule. Personally, if I’ve gotten help or involved someone else, I will talk about it. If it is just me, I will keep quiet about it.

     ‘White Banners’, a book by Lloyd C. Douglas. No, don’t go rent the movie. It has a similar theme, but Hollywood totally botched that one. Good enough movie, but totally missed the mark in delivering the message of the book. Go. Read it. Feel good about yourself. It’s a great read and one book that I think should be required reading. You won’t regret it. Most every library has it.
     I told you…
     See… now do you believe me? I’m a crusty old fart who really doesn’t give a flying rat’s ass about other people’s opinion of me. Okay… there are a few who I look to… um… scratch that. They’re already dead, so they don’t count. Do they? I may need a Bloody Mary and garden time to think about that one. Do their opinions matter if they’re dead?
     Putting it simply…
     How I live my life, or try to:
     1. Treat others as I want to be treated.
     2. Don’t lie.
     3. Don’t steal.
     4. Respect; me first then you.
     5. Mind my own business.
     6. Be kind and try to be helpful.
     7. Offer a helping hand, not a hand out.
     8. Don’t judge.
     9. Manners matter.
     10. Keep my mouth shut and nod.
     If I keep to these rules, I usually do okay. Whenever I have strayed… that’s when I always get in trouble. I always seem to be getting in trouble, but mostly because people don’t want to hear me jump their shit. If you don’t want to know, then you best not ask me, but I’ll pretty much tell you. ‘My it’s weather we’re having!’
     I’m somewhere between 55 and death, so I don’t have a whole lot to lose, now do I. “Ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies.” Just be damn sure you want the truth. I’m a good listener, and I usually know when that is all that is required of me. I’ll listen to just about anything as long as we know the ground rules. It’s when you ask for my input or opinion that I’m gonna give it to you, no sugar coating. You’ll get the truth.
     Now… stand up straight, square your shoulders and march. Go… do something productive. Make something. Be creative. Make someone else’s day. Mind your manners and things will turn out okay. Stay focused on what makes YOU a better person and don’t worry about those other folk. (For some unknown or rational reason ‘Onward Christian Soldier’ just popped into my head. I’m so ready for a cocktail now.)
     Have a grrreat week, y’all.
     p.s. Take most of this with a grain of salt, preferably from the rim of a cocktail glass. Most of it was tongue in check for those who just don’t get my sick sense of humour. But I really am a curmudgeon!
     Oh... and happy Super Bowl! 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Feeding My Addiction(s)...

     So… I’m sitting here wishing I had a cocktail. It’s really too early to start drinking and I have a meeting in four hours and it would probably be a good thing if I weren’t drunk off my butt for it. Although, she probably wouldn’t mind. Yeah, she probably would come to think of it. Only because she’d be sober though.
     Ho Hum…
     Last time TAT (That Aussie Tart) and I went out to dinner with some friends after happy hour. We went to this little French style café, which isn’t too bad. Service was a bit on the wonky side, but that is pretty much everywhere here. I swear, I don’t know who some places stay in business to be honest, but that’s a whole ‘nother story for another time. Anyway, this friend asked me if I missed cooking.
     Yep, face plant in a big plate of depression. I miss not being in a kitchen so badly at times I seriously could just cry. I miss not working. I miss not having the adrenalin pumping when your ass is about one minute from going into the weeds. The noise, the heat and then… it’s over and everyone is cleaning and ready for a couple of well-deserved stiff drinks. Yeah, I miss it like nothing else. It’s my drug of choice and it was taken away from me when I was enjoying it the most. But… sometimes that’s the way things go. Who knows, if I could ever convince someone to cut my feet off and I get some of those bouncy prosthetics like that legless Olympian, I could be back in business, just bouncing off the walls of a kitchen once again.
     Speaking of which, the next time I’m in France, I swear I’m going to find a good patisserie and eat my weight in éclairs! I don’t know what it wrong with American bakeries. They can’t seem to get it right no matter what. Oh… and a good opera cake. Damn, I’m craving junk food.
     Hurry, change of subject…
     You know what really burns my ass? A flame about three foot high. That an old quote from a Dolly Parton movie. A good friend, Lisa Schrader, tagged me in a post about some Yankee woman who had never appreciated Ms. Parton for who she really is. Of course so many people think that she’s just some overly made up country singing bimbo. She is so far from that. She is probably one of the most generous people on earth. She gives back to her community like no one ever else has. With all the wildfires that devastated the East Tennessee region, she has promised one-thousand dollars to each and every family affected until they get up on their feet. She’s held a fundraiser.

Here’s the link of the woman who changed her opinion of this icon.  
An Open Apology To Dolly Parton
     She bought Silver Dollar City and named it Dollywood, which I’m sure some of you may have heard of. That place used to only be open about four months out of the year. Now that place runs year round and provides thousands upon thousands of jobs to local and traveling people.
     She also has a mobile library for the kids who are so remote; there is little or no chance for them to get to a library. She expanded on that and is now sending preschool kids’ books in the mail for free! You heard right, these kids have the opportunity to get a free book every month at no cost.
     No, our jezebel wanna be is so much more than a talented songwriter – performer. She is a superstar where I come from and it has nothing to do with her musical abilities at all. So, I’m gonna sing me a little Dolly tonight while whooping up something in the kitchen tonight. I’m thinking Jolene might be the ticket.
     Where’s that damn escalator…
     I so want to jump on my soapbox. I’m just too fucking lazy to walk up the stairs. You might want to be glad that I can’t find the escalator. Trump the chump just pisses me off. Him and his stupid wall. At what point has a wall ever really worked. Let’s ask the Chinese. Or how about the Brits with their stupid wall. Did it work? Or Berlin… how well did that wall fair? Hmm. Walls haven’t worked at any point in history and it won’t work now. Physically or virtually. The anti-Muslim wall he’s erecting won’t work either. It’s only going to piss more people off and play into the hands of the extreme right radicals, Christian AND Muslim. Okay… that’s as far as I can make it without the escalator. Ain’t you glad!?
     Moving right along…
     Did I mention I’m having the wackiest cravings? My doctor put me on a mega dose of steroids for four days and they are kicking my ass bad. It’s worse that smoking pot, as I remember. Makes me want to eat the entire house. I sat down and had a party size bag of Doritos last night with about half a gallon of milk. Damn, I’m going to look like I swallowed a beach ball the way I’m going. Either that or I’m carry triplets, which is impossible. Oh wait… there is that whole immaculate conception thing… who knows… think I could sell that story?
     I gotta goooo…
     I’m gonna close this bad boy up now so I can go and scarf up something good… or not so good, so let me just say… get out there and live life. Be happy. Do something for someone else. You won’t break a nail. It won’t break the bank. Your face won’t crack if you smile. Just do it. Put some of them good Karma Coins in that piggy bank.
     Have a grrreat week, y’all.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

I'll Shut Up Now...

     So… I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out something nice to say. I don’t know about y’all but my momma told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, keep your mouth shut.” Yeah, well that doesn’t always work for me.

     When is a spade not a spade…
     Never. Basically if you’re a liar and a cheat, you’re always going to be a liar and a cheat. Add thief to that and you’ve got a human being that isn’t worth his weight in salt. I never thought I would actually say this about a sitting President of the United States but… Donald J. Trump is a thief, a liar and a cheat. It is easily proven. It isn’t a big surprise.
    I’ve made it a point to not get into this political mess, but after Friday, I can’t hold back any longer. How this happened I don’t know. I just lied. Yes I do. I know exactly how this happened. People didn’t get out and vote. We have the lowest turnout for elections of any westernized country. That is pretty shameful.
     Tha, tha, that’s all folks…
     Since I really can’t think of anything nice to say, I’m going to stop right here. I had another thousand words, but after reading it, I just deleted it. Yep, that’s just… well that’s all. I’m going to head my mother’s advice and shut up now.
     Did you know?...
     Yep, I re-release P.O.W. If you’ve not seen the new cover yet, you haven’t seen one of the most beautiful book covers I’ve ever seen. A.J. Corza is a genius. I’m just blown away by her talent. If you’ve not read P.O.W., it is now available at your favorite book retailer. Please read the warnings though. It won’t be for everyone. It is hard and gritty and not always nice.
Buy links
     But before I go…
     I’d like to thank everyone who donated books for the Zebra Coalition. I’m going to start categorizing everything this week and see about arranging a date for delivery. If I’m able to get it all done this week I hope to have a number to give y’all. Overall, I’m very pleased with how many responded to the request for books. I knew you would. You’ve never let me down yet when I ask for help. You guys rock.
     Remember, we all have more in common than not. Treat everyone with respect and the chances are they will reciprocate. Do something nice for someone else and you will reap those good Karma Coins.
     Have a great week, y’all,