New book trailer!

I’m so excited to have actor Chris Patton performing the voice over in the trailer for my upcoming release, “In the Heart of Darkness (Book 9 in the Brethren Series, if you’re keeping count.) Chris narrated my audio book, Dark Passages: Tristan & Karen as well as the recent audio version of the Guardians of the Galaxy novelization, and is known worldwide for his work in numerous anime films and TV shows. You can find out more about him here. If it’s possible to have a crush on someone’s voice, then I’ve got one on his, LOL.


RIP: James Foley, American journalist

Every day, my Facebook feed is clogged with stories about Ferguson, MO. Not once have I seen anyone comment on the death of James Foley, an American journalist murdered in cold, cowardly blood by Islamist extremists, ISIS, for presumed offenses he had nothing to do with. He died while trying to keep the world informed about the ongoing struggles and strifes against humanity in the Middle East in general, and Syria specifically.

We’ve all heard about Michael Brown, the 18-year-old killed by a police officer in the St. Louis suburb. We’ve all seen his picture, read about his life, know his biography. But have you seen James Foley’s picture? Do you know anything about him, or his life, or what he’d hoped to accomplish working in the Middle East? 

In case you don’t, let me introduce you to him. 

From his bio on Wikipedia: “James Wright Foley (October 18, 1973 – c. August 19, 2014) was an American freelance photojournalist. He worked for the U.S. GlobalPost news company, until November 22, 2012, when he was abducted in northwestern Syria while covering the Syrian Civil War. In August 2014, Foley became the first American citizen to be killed by the Islamic State.

Foley was a native of Rochester, New Hampshire, and attended Kingswood Regional High School in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. He was the oldest of five children born to John and Diane Foley. He as a Catholic.

Foley graduated from Marquette University in 1996. He graduated from the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2003. Foley graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in 2008.

Foley was kidnapped in northwestern Syria along with his translator in November 2012. The translator was later released. ISIS demanded $132 million from Foley’s family and GlobalPost, his employer, for his release during a period of time when communication was being exchanged November to December of 2013. The chief executive officer of GlobalPost, Philip Balboni, stated that the company spent millions on efforts to bring Foley home, including hiring an international security firm. In September 2013 the firm was able to locate Foley and had been able to follow his locations. He had moved many times during his captivity.”

Where is the indignation and outrage against HIS murderers? Where are the mobs of people protesting this heroic young man’s brutal, sadistic, sick murder? We’re too busy fighting ourselves – we’re doing this man and his sacrifice — and the deaths of every American serviceman, journalist, or aid worker who has been butchered — a cruel disservice. We’re doing the dirty work for the sons of bitches who did this.

Here’s a story about James Foley and the courage he demonstrated right until the end. I hope you are as horrified and outraged as I am. And DO NOT tell me this is Obama’s fault. I’m not interested in political bullshit finger-pointing. ISIS is to blame – they are the ONLY ONES TO BLAME.:

Aging gracefully, my big fat ass

I had been trying to brainstorm a good blog post idea for today when I came across this article on my Facebook feed. It’s an open letter from a 33-year-old mother of five to a group of younger assholes who felt it necessary to laugh about her stretch marks while she was sunbathing at the beach. 

While I’ve never had that kind of experience, I think it’s fair to say that once you reach a certain point in life, you start becoming more and more aware not only of the generation gap between yourself and those younger than you, but also of that younger generation’s complete obliviousness to the fact that THEY’RE NEXT.

That’s right, kids. That woman you laughed at for having stretchmarks? What the fuck do you think you or your wife is going to look like after bearing children?

In my case, I’ll never forget buying Pepto Bismol at a Kmart once. I was in my thirties at the time, probably around 33, like the mother in the aforementioned article. And the teeny-bopped cashier turned to grin at the teeny-bopper bagger as she scanned my Pepto Bismol — or rather, the generic version. “Pink bismuth,” she said, having a hard time wrapping her 11th-grade vocabulary around the multi-syllabic second word. She and the bagger started laughing. I bristled inwardly, but didn’t say anything. What I wanted to say — what I wish to this day I’d said, even though the words would’ve been wasted on two so obviously oblivious to their own forthcoming aging processes — was “Yeah, ha ha. Har-dee-fucking har har. GET A MORTGAGE, bitch, then come and laugh about gastrointestinal woes.”

Because I’d once laughed about shit like that, too. About bran flakes and Pepto Bismol and life insurance. I laughed about 401k’s, about college savings plans for kids, about watching my cholesterol, my sugar intake, my salt intake, my trans fat intake. I laughed about it all, but that was when I was in my twenties, and then when I was in my thirties, reality hit. Like a big old brick. My boobs started to sag, and my ass started what I have since come to affectionately call its Great Westward Expansion.  Hanes Her Way panties — the full brief shit, not these “boy briefs” or bikini cuts — were my underpants of choice instead of Victoria’s Secret butt-floss varieties. I started drinking coffee. And eating bran. Watching my fiber. Worrying about my blood pressure. Was that a grey hair? Why the fuck is a hair growing out of THERE all of a sudden? 

Now that I’m in my forties, it’s pretty much the same. I don’t find Harry Stiles hot because he looks like a kid to me. Jeremy Renner, however, I’d throw down and molest in a hot minute. I don’t want to watch the “Twilight” kids and their messed up excuse for romance on the big screen, and I remember when they made “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the movie, the first time around — and got the BDSM right — in “Secretary” with James Spader and Maggie Gylenhall.

I go to the grocery without make up on; my legs are pale; I have crow’s feet and an extra chin; plus cellulite, stretch marks, wrinkles, spider veins and and if it’s more comfortable to wear socks with my sandals, then by Christ, that’s what I’m doing, because you know what? I don’t give a fuck what you think about me. Chances are, if you’re under age 25, I think you look pretty fucking ridiculous, too. 

I may not be turning into Walter Matthau, a “grumpy old man” as I age, but you kids sure as hell better stay off my lawn anyway. 

Singing fool

I never used to sing before I had kids. Oh, sure, I was in the chorus for our high school production of “Bye-Bye Birdie” and I belted out a horrendous rendition of Tiffany’s “Could’ve Been” on an audition for the “Rocky Horror Show” once (I didn’t get the part). But otherwise, with the exceptions of my shower and my car — and only then with the radio blasting and my tape of Stevie Nicks wailing “Edge of Seventeen” on full volume — I did not sing.

But once my son was born, and then a few years later, my daughter, I became a singing fool. You see, you give up a lot by way of personal dignity when you have kids. But when you have kids, it doesn’t matter, because for awhile at least, in their impressionable, adulating eyes, you can do no wrong. You are perfect to them. And their smiles, their laughter, are golden to you. You’ll do anything to earn them. I know I sure will. And so I started singing.

And while I started off with the usual nursery rhyme fare, in the last decade or do since my son’s birth, I’ve also become quite the impromptu songwriter, making up lyrics and accompanying tunes about just about everything from tickling armpits to picking noses; from the mundane, like bath time or supper time, to the more odd, like songs about farting. Today I made up a sort of Gregorian-sequence chant about how my son could roll down his car window, hang his wiener out and pee. (Not really of course – it was a song. Creative licensure and all.)

My kids laugh at my goofy little songs. Sometimes, like today with the wiener-out-the-window song, they’ll sing along. Other times they’ll ask for repeat performances of specific tunes, such as my daughter’s favorite, “Anytime’s A Good Time for Girl Time.” Sometimes they roll their eyes when I sing, but those occasions are still pretty few and far between, at least for now. And I still get their laughter and smiles for my rewards.

I owe more to my kids than I ever would’ve imagined possible before having them. The gift of song is just one of many.