Lacing up the Sneakers

“We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

I’m sure this will trigger a memory of high school civics (or American History) and the need to memorize the Declaration of Independence.

“…all men are created equal.”

Men. Got news, George, Thom, John, and Benny Boy: women are, too. And we’re going to marching this Saturday to drive home the point.  If you’re interested, you can find a march here:

Women's march poster

Women’s March on Washington

Nothing personal, but there are issues of personal sovereignty at stake here. It took from 1783, when Britain signed the Treaty of Paris acknowledging the sovereignty of the United States (and I have copious notes for a story about that. They’re 3,000 miles away. Please buy a shit ton of my books so I can use the royalties to go get them) to 1789 when the Constitution was ratified and became effective (By the way, all of you “State’s Rights!” junkies: we tried that under the Articles of Confederation from 1781 to 1789. Weak central government with strong regional government failed miserably. Really. It did) to figure out voting and representation and how the machinery of democracy would work. The Founding Fathers screwed up on a few points: slavery wasn’t outlawed, in fact enslaved people were counted at 3/5 of the number of white inhabitants, and neither the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights did not specify that gender could be used to deny the right to vote. That didn’t get straightened out until 1920. It didn’t say we couldn’t, but that’s the way the guys interpreted it, because God knows, they love their boys’ clubs.

It took until 1974  and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act before a woman could get a credit card or a mortgage in her own name.

Until 1978 and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, a woman could be fired for being pregnant.

The “boys will be boys” and sexual harassment of “Mad Men” was perfectly fine until 1977. Of course, in 1991, we saw that it didn’t stop because the chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Clarence Thomas, was accused in graphically detailed testimony by Anita Hill of engaging in a pattern of sexual and hostile behavior WHILE HEADING THE OFFICE TASKED WITH ENFORCING EQUALITY. Didn’t stop his ascension to the United States Supreme Court (and he’s done zip minus while on the bench except to “me, too” everything Scalia wrote). And I can attest that that shit still goes down without much fear of reprisal unless the victim gets a lawyer and sues the employer.

Not so much this...

Not so much this…

as this

as this

The biggie…

1973, Roe v. Wade. Wherein the Supreme Court said that a woman’s right to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy was legal.

Right now, we are a day away from swearing in as President of the United States a man who has a track record of contempt and disrespect for women. Never mind that he’s cool with sexual assault, that he makes comments about his daughter that leads me to believe he has actually had inappropriate relations with her. He has said he thinks women should be punished for getting an abortion. He’s in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood. Since the rise of The Consecrated Con Man, Jerry Falwell,  and his “Moral Majority” (which was neither), a woman’s right to choose has been under focused, high-powered, relentless assault. Personally, if a woman I’ve never met wants an abortion, it’s none of my business. I had a friend tell me he was “morally opposed to his tax dollars paying for abortions.” Thanks to that shithead Henry Hyde, and the Hyde Amendment of 1976 (which keeps getting polished and renewed), they don’t. And the maker of the statement was shitting his diapers when it passed. I’m morally opposed to war, and I don’t want my tax dollars paying for that. However, I don’t get a say in the matter. Even Henry Thoreau couldn’t get away with not paying taxes because he objected to the Mexican War. The incoming President, on the other hand,…not as a moral objection but because it was “smart” and “good business” for him to carry forward a $900,000,000 loss and legally avoid paying taxes for years. (The $900,000,000 loss being a mark of “good business”? Not so much).

I’m not sitting this out. I may be beyond reproductive age and I have no daughters, but I see a big picture here. Women ARE the majority in this country and we should not have our gains rolled back. Read “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood sometime.

Handmaid's Tale

Thus the march.

No reason resistance can't be fashionable

No reason resistance can’t be fashionable

I figured this would be a peaceful thing. However, I was given information on recording police violence, what to bring in case of tear gas and arrest; who knows what’s going to happen. But it’s important enough to take the risk.

I urge you to also lace up your sneakers, RSVP to your local event, and make it known that we, the majority of Americans, will not stand for our rights, our personal sovereignty, to be eroded or taken away.

Now watch this video. And share the hell out of it.

New Guards

No, It’s Not Okay

I write this blog, but I also write books. A shit ton of work goes into them, creating characters, bringing them to life, deciding what you’re going to remove/change after the first draft (and the second and the third…). Then are the costs of hiring an editor (it’s the smart move), a graphic designer to create your cover, blog tour coordinators, the cost of printing books, having merchandise made up, fees for signing events (Yeah, we have to pay them), travel expenses.

Part of the proceeds from my day job go to supporting my writing habit (because it sure as shit isn’t supporting me. Yet)

People have a notion of published authors that’s about 20-30 years behind the times: “Oh, look. She has a book out. She must have gotten a big fat advance check from a publisher because look- there’s her book.” Everybody knows that if you’ve published a book (or been in a movie or put out a CD) that you must be rich because ‘all of those people are so wealthy. The money just walks through the door every day.’

uncle pennybags

No, actually, it doesn’t.

The publishers have become extremely cautious (buyouts by media conglomerates and having MBAs running the joint instead of editors and writers will do that). I had a sheaf of rejection letters to rival Snoopy’s (Snoopy had a big pile of them). Nothing published. Then, self-publishing became affordable for individuals like me and the social media made publicity free/cheap/affordable. I haven’t sold a lot of books yet, but that’s in the works.

Have you ever bought an article of clothing with the intention of wearing it once, then returning it for a full refund? Yeah: we have that issue in e-book publishing. People buy a book on Kindle, read it and request a full refund from Amazon. The end result is that $1.98 in royalties that I had earned (and folks? Sometimes that’s IT for weeks) gets taken back. And claiming “I bought the wrong book” or “I didn’t like it” kind of rings hollow when you have a  Goodreads bookshelf titled “Bought and Returned Books” and there are 836 titles on it. I shit you not; there are people who are not only sociopathic enough to do this, they’re also FUCKING STUPID enough to mark a bookshelf as such. Really? This is the Information Age. They found Bin Laden. They found Richard III. Shit, they even found Waldo: do you really think your dumb, thieving ass is safe?

stolen ebook

I belong to several independent author groups on Facebook and one of the other members had her book go “live” (available) on Amazon and within 5 hours, it had been pirated.


Not cool. We who actually do the work are losing money.

I graduated from a law school that specialized in intellectual property law: patent, trademark, and copyright (DING DING DING). While I was not in the IP program, I am still tight with people who were not only in the program, but top of the freakin’ class. I don’t buy/use/view pirated DVDs (and have dropped dimes to Disney, Amazon, and MGM on those who have tried to pass off pirated copies as the real deal. Done the same with people selling fake Vuitton. Did I get a free Stephen Sprouse Speedy as a “merci’ from Vuitton? Non) The prevailing attitude is that “it’s no big deal.” Why? Because people think that if you have a published book, music album, or a video on Youtube, the Mississippi River of money (and yes, I did the thing in my head to spell Mississippi correctly) is flowing into your house.

It’s theft. The “buy and return” is theft by deception aka FRAUD. The conventional wisdom is that it’s nearly impossible to win a fraud conviction because you have to prove intent. I’d call a Goodreads shelf marked “bought and returned” pretty hard evidence of intent. (And these fucktards give high ratings to the books they read and return).

Hey, if  you like it, then you put a ring on it. Jay-Z did.


And Beyonce would NEVER “buy and return.”


We’ll get to this in a moment.

Let’s say for a minute that you are a salesman. Your pay is on commission; in order to get paid, you have to sell. Houses, cars, CLOTHING (looping back to “buy and return”). Your compensation for your time and effort for the employer is based on how productive you were in bringing money in the door. Here’s the thing: that dress that you sold two days ago? You WERE getting paid for it. That is you WERE until the shitweasel brought it back for a refund. Now, it’s deducted from your pay. The pay that you worked so damned hard to earn. And if enough people do it, you have worked  for free.

How does it feel? Let’s see you pay your light bill or put gas in your car with $0 pay.

Bottom line, if you “buy and return,” you are a douche bag. Oh, I’m disrespectful? To someone knowingly and intentionally committing fraud? FUCK YOU.

When you buy and return, you are stealing. It’s fraud. And, in this age of electronically stored receipts and people eager to tell you everything about themselves, it’s no longer so difficult to prove if you’re a repeat offender (I cannot get over the person on Goodreads who is so fucking dumb as to mark a shelf “Bought and Returned.” AND SHE’S NOT THE ONLY ONE!!!!!)

karma cafe

Look, you want to read a book for free? Get a library card. And they lend…(wait for it)… e-books.

Got an Amazon Prime account? You can borrow from the Kindle Lending Library for…FREE (the authors still get paid something). In fact, watch Amazon’s Kindle Store because free downloads are offered every day.

Watch Facebook for people promoting books and look for blog tours and GIVEAWAYS. Hell, in those Rafflecopter giveaways, you can win Kindle Fires, bracelets (I have to fix them first), autographed copies of the featured book, e-books from other authors who donate.

Join Goodreads and enter every giveaway on there: even the heavy hitters like Michael Chabon, J.K. Rowling, and Dan Brown offer books in Goodreads giveaways.I OFFER BOOKS IN GOODREADS GIVEAWAYS. GIVE-A-WAY, as in “you don’t pay for it.”  It’s called PROMOTION.

You don’t have to be a lying,  thieving douche bag because karma will bite your ass.

karma dogs