Why you should buy my books through All On The Same Page

Great chance to get two autographed copies of Misha Burnett’s books, while supporting an independent bookseller who also promotes Indies!!! What wondrous support!

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Many of you have been asking for a print edition of Cannibal Hearts, and so here it is.  I have copies on the shelf at All On The Same Page Bookstore, 11052 Olive Blvd., Creve Coeur, Missouri 63141.  

All On The Same Page is locally owned and operated by Robin Tidwell, who is a self-published author and also operates a small press, Rocking Horse Publishing.

She is a wonderful contact for local self-published authors, she hosts launch parties, book signings, local author’s fairs–a tireless promoter. (Okay, so she does get tired, but she keeps going anyway.)  I really can’t say enough about the bookstore–the local and self-published section of the store is huge–seriously, most of the front half of the store.

Sure, you’re thinking, that’s fine for folks who are lucky enough to reside in the Saint Louis Metropolitan Area, but what about the legions of…

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Book Review: “Beyond Dusk: Anne”, by Sarah Cradit

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I recently had the honor of being gifted a copy of “Beyond Dusk: Anne” in exchange for an honest review.  Having read “St. Charles at Dusk”, being much impressed, looking forward to “The Storm and the Darkness” as a book to read soon, I was eagerly anticipating “Beyond Dusk: Anne”.  I have read a few novellas and was very glad to see that the author gave enough backstory from St. Charles at Dusk without rewriting that novel.  I tend to resent that when authors are less than creative with their novellas.  This novella was very creative indeed, and introduced a paranormal element that I found most delightfully done and intriguing.  The characters, while matured, stayed true to their unique personalities.  I could really relate to Anne Fontaine, having been a poor southern farm girl myself once upon a time, and her having to overcome her shyness and awkwardness in being introduced to, “High Society.”  The flora and foliage were also beautifully described.  My only complaint is that, this novella was not long enough nor complete enough to suit me.  Just about the time I got really excited and was deeply into the story, it ended, quite like a teaser.  I wanted to know the rest of this story.  This teaser will only encourage me to keep reading the series, and will in no way deter me!

An Interview with Becket, Author of The Blood Vivicanti

I am so very impressed. i am also looking forward to reading his work!

...and then there was Sarah

BecketI am pleased to welcome Becket, author of The Blood Vivicanti, for an interview. You may be most familiar with Becket on his Facebook page, where he talks about his job as Anne Rice’s personal assistant, his awe-inspiring years living in a New Orleans monastery, and his love of everything geek. Now, Becket can add “author” to his list of life experiences as he introduces us to the first of six installments in the serial novel, The Blood Vivicanti. The serial involves an entirely new and unique set of blood-drinkers, which were born of a collaboration between Becket and Anne Rice.

I hope you enjoy my interview with the charming and lovely Becket, who, on top of everything else, is just an all-around awesome guy to chat with. And thank you, Becket, for stopping by!

Stay tuned after the interview for my review of The Blood Vivicanti

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Homeless, Panhandlers and Transients

 

Central Florida is notorious for its homeless, panhandlers, and transients.  They come here for the fine weather that we enjoy year round, and to get away from whatever they are running from.  From the homeless, to the snowbirds who leave their second homes to vacation here, from October to April, our population numbers on our sidewalks in Orlando double. Orlando is a beautiful city and this is a part of our culture.

However, I am starting to get jaded, and I really do not want to be.header_70

Here are the two reasons why:

images (7)1.       I was driving to work one day and I came to an intersection that is a common place for panhandlers to stand with their signs asking for help.  I had no cash on me, but the sign read: HUNGRY.  I had just been through Mc Donald’s for food for my supper, so I passed off my supper to the panhandler, and decided I would leave work later to buy my own.  I realized I did not bring my mobile phone with me, so with time to spare, I turned around at the next intersection to go back home for it.  As I passed through the panhandler’s intersection, I saw him smashing my donation into a trashcan in front of the bank on the corner.  After retrieving my phone from my house, and returning to this intersection, there was the panhandler with his sign in my window again.  I had to drive on by.

2.       I went to get gas one day.  When I pulled into the station and began to pump my gas, a guy came over talking in sign language as if he could not speak.  He had little cards that showed sign language and images (11)he gave me one.  I thanked him in sign language, and he held out a jar with a couple of dollars and some change in it, so I dropped in a dollar, or two.  I went inside the station to shop.  The man came in.  The clerk says to the man, “How are we doing today David?”  The “deaf” man says, “Pretty good, I have some more ones and I need some twenties.”  He reached into his jeans pocket and pulled out two huge rolls of bills.  A roll of ones and a roll of twenties.  I am not talking small rolls.  These rolls were bigger around than my toilet paper.  I doubted if he needed them to wipe his ass.

Knowing that these were two isolated incidents helps a little.  There are literally hundreds who are genuinely hungry and not looking to scam, and I am getting better at sorting them out the longer I live here.  I look at the derelicts laying on park benches or pushing their shopping carts and I think, most sincerely, “There but for the grace of God go I!”

images (8)Because of this internal philosophy, I spend my Sundays during these months feeding the homeless.  They gather in Lake Eola park downtown, where numerous organizations and Homeless-440x352individuals come out to pass food and some small pleasure to these people.  They are part of us.  They are us, but for the grace of God.  I know that some of you might be thinking, “They need to get a job and stop depending on handouts,” but truly, until you have experienced life through their eyes, walked in their shoes, and shared whatever agonies have plagued them, you really don’t know why they suffer the humility of having to beg.  I am humbled.

Because many share those sentiments, that the homeless/panhandlers need to work harder to change their circumstances, never mind that we have closed up most mental institutions and put many of these needy people onto the streets, the shop owners in particular, are up in arms.   So are the wealthier “snowbirds”, the resident tourists, who want their second home locations to be spotless and pure, more like the communities they hail from, when they are down to enjoy these expensive second homes and condos. They want to “clean up” Orlando.

  So the City Council passed new laws. It is now a violation of city ordinance to panhandle outside of the white lined boxes on street corners, and panhandling can only be done during certain times of day.  The police can also issues citations to donors, in addition to recipients.img_20130824_085757_609-1024x576  The ordinance is rarely enforced, but the fact that it exists is most troubling.  What does it say about our society and our level of tolerance and acceptance?  The rationale was, “Panhandling encourages and enables the homeless to continue to depend on unacceptable, easily obtainable resources.”  Really?  Easily obtainable?  Obviously none of these Councilmen have ever been homeless.  It is not an “easy” job for most.images (6)

The Councilmen have also tried to stop us from feeding the homeless at Lake Eola City Park on Sundays for the same reasons.  There was a move to ban that as well, but in consideration that it posed no threat to businesses, and the people retaliated vehemently their rights to support the homeless, the Councilmen withdrew their ban.  So beginning in October, we will rejoin the multitudes that come out to feed the multitudes on Sundays in the park.  My crispy cornbread cakes will be passed out alongside of the great pots of vegetable beef soup to the courageous people strong enough to ask for help.

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The Storm and The Darkness by Sarah M. Cradit Blog Tour – Hosted by Girls Heart Books Tours

Great series! Sequel to St. Charles at Dusk. The Storm and the Darkness! Don’t forget to pick up Beyond Dusk: Anne, a novella.

Sunshine and Mountains

Storm and the Darkness Blog Tour

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Storm and Darkness Front

blue&w Synopsis

Ana Deschanel has made a terrible mistake. The only chance of protecting the other people involved is to flee New Orleans, the only home she has ever known, for the quiet solitude of Summer Island.

Summer Island, Maine (population 202) is not the tranquil escape Ana imagined. The locals are distant and cold, especially her neighbor, the reclusive veterinarian Jonathan St. Andrews. Her only lifeline is the kind but odd caretaker Alex Whitman. Showing up at all the right moments, he warns her she is completely unprepared for a Maine winter. As the first winter storm approaches to whispers of an island shutdown- Ana realizes that she may soon be cut off from the rest of the world.

After a surprising encounter with Jonathan’s brother, Finn, Ana finds herself braving the storm to return something to him. Unprepared for the Maine storm, she slips and falls onto the jagged rocks…

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Orlando Tour For Busy Mind Thinking

For Belinda of BusyMindThinking.  Since my header shows the Orlando skyline at night, I thought I would give you a glimpse of Orlando by day.  Who doesn’t know Orlando, right?  I live in the Lake Conway area near the International Airport,  just on the edge of the downtown area of Orlando.  Not so touristy over here.  More like a small town within a big city.

This is the downtown area by day.  We have a population of about 250,000 metro and 2 mil in the surrounding areas that include the resort areas South to Longwood North.

This is the downtown area by day. We have a population of about 250,000 metro and 2 mil in the surrounding areas that include the resort areas South to Longwood North.

The flora, foliage  and flowers are fantastic here year round.

The flora, foliage and flowers are fantastic here year round.

This is my cousin's nudist resort, Cypress Cove Resort.  This is why I came to Florida 16 years ago.

This is my cousin’s nudist resort, Cypress Cove Resort. This is why I came to Florida 16 years ago.

Everyone knows Disney and Epcot, but there are many other parks here; Universal Studios and Citywalk, Islands of Adventure,, Sea World, Aquatica and Discovery Cove, The Holy Lands,  Olde Towne, Harry Potter's World, Legoland and many more...never a dull moment. Over 52 million people pass through the gates at Disney annually.

Everyone knows Disney and Epcot, but there are many other parks here; Universal Studios and Citywalk, Islands of Adventure,, Sea World, Aquatica and Discovery Cove, The Holy Lands, Olde Towne, Harry Potter’s World, Legoland and many more…never a dull moment. Over 52 million people pass through the gates at Disney annually.

The new Amway Arena draws a crowd for sporting events and music concerts

The new Amway Arena draws a crowd for sporting events and music concerts

There are literally hundreds of resorts like this one.  We have over 400,000 hotel rooms in Orlando.

There are literally hundreds of resorts like this one. We have over 400,000 hotel rooms in Orlando, and 37,000 restaurants.  That makes for a lot of traffic..

Most hotels have a water feature of some sort, like this lazy river.

Most hotels have a water feature of some sort, like this lazy river.

One of the nicest benefits to living in Central Florida is that the beach is only an hour away in either direction,  East and we have the sunrise over the Atlantic, West and we have the sunset over the Gulf.  It is fun to try to do both in one day.

One of the nicest benefits to living in Central Florida is that the beach is only an hour away in either direction, East and we have the sunrise over the Atlantic, West and we have the sunset over the Gulf. It is fun to try to do both in one day.

Good night Belinda.  I hope you enjoyed your tour!  Sorry I was so late getting this up.

Good night Belinda. I hope you enjoyed your tour! Sorry I was so late getting this up.

Daisy, the Incredibly Determined Dog

daisyMy husband is a very kind man who likes adopting pets.  He would come home with birds, lizards, geckos, and animals as exotic as the Chinese water dragon.  We had a special room for all the animals that he felt would have a better home with us than where they were found.

One day, he called me on the phone as I was coming home from my night job and he told me that a new smiling face with big brown eyes would be greeting me as I came in the door.  I told him jokingly, “Okay, as long as it isn’t a kid named Julio with hearty appetite!”  After all, we already had twenty parakeets, a couple of sun conures, a cockatiel, a few lizards, a Tokay gecko, a Chinese water dragon, two dogs, and a cat…what harm would one more critter be?

I wondered what my surprise would be.  When I opened the front door, I was greeted by the smiling face of Daisy.  What a pretty dog she was, with her happy wagging tail.  She is an Australian cattle dog mixed breed, with the personality of an angel, a white mid-sized dog with reddish spots.

Daisy was adopted from the parking lot of Petco where the adoption dog service had many salvaged doggies up for adoption.  Her big brown eyes and gentle smile had won my husband’s heart.  He got her history from them and decided we could make a good loving home for her.

When people keep dogs as pets, they must remember that dogs are inbred with certain characteristics.  Daisy was a herding dog.  It was her job to see to it that the flock was safe.  Her history was one of a runaway, digging tunnels and jumping fences.  The original family that had owned her had given her up because they were tired of chasing her down.  She had such a habit of digging out of the back yard and running away, that they had put her on a chain. She had scars on her neck where the heavy chain had rubbed away the hair and marked her deeply.

During Hurricane Charley, homes were trashed, roofs were torn off, huge trees and other debris were hurled across streets and thunderstorms raged.  Lightening crashed and the wind blew hard at more than 75 miles per hour.  The devastation was horrible.  Poor Daisy, being frightened and chained in the yard, broke free and ran away; perhaps, to check on her herd.

Fortunately, she was found by her original family several days later.  It is amazing that she survived the storm and did not get hit by a car as we live in a part of Orlando with busy intersections and 5 and 6 lane through streets.  The original owners felt that they could no longer keep her and they took her to the adoption agency.  She had subsequently been adopted by several owners who had always brought her back to the agency with the same complaints.  Daisy needed a safe home.  My husband was certain that he could build a better mousetrap.

Daisy was already a full grown dog when we got her.  Her habits were deeply ingrained.  She had been a yard dog. My husband saw these habits as a challenge and decided that we would make a house dog of her like the other two doggies that live with us.  They have a doggie door and come and go at liberty.  Daisy seemed to instinctively know what the doggie door was for and followed the others in and out.  No training required.  She was a smart dog.

The next morning, after my husband had gone to work, I noticed the boards from the privacy fence had been pushed out.  Daisy was gone.  I searched the neighborhood and found her down the street.  Promptly, we put a tag on her with our phone numbers.  My husband took plastic twist ties and went around each and every panel on the privacy fence securing them into place so they could not be pushed out.

Not long after, we moved to a new neighborhood nearby.  We had a chain-linked fence at this new house, but found quickly that she could jump over it.  Neighbors were constantly calling or bringing her back home.  My husband went out and bought an electric invisible fence, surely she could be trained to stay in.  He installed the wire around the perimeter of the back yard.  Then we noticed that she was only running away during thunderstorms.

Here in Florida during the summer months, our rainy season, there are thunderstorms almost daily.  Daisy would begin to pant as the barometric pressure dropped.  By the time a storm hit, she would be in a full blown panic, pacing and checking from room to room for her flock.  Most doggies with thunderstorm anxiety will simply hide under a bed and whimper, not Daisy; she was a doggie on a mission.  Even the electric fence would not stop her.

We wanted the least restrictive method to keep her contained.  We tried the Thunder Shirt™ to no avail.  It calmed her, but that did not last long.  She found a spot that she could push under the chain-linked fence and escape from.  We fixed that, but it did not stop her from trying.  We decided to invest in a $3000.00, 8 foot high, full panel vinyl privacy fence, surely that could keep her in.  No, she found a way to push the gate open at its base.  She was found by a family nearly three miles away.  My husband added another latch down below.  She was being contained, but would tremble and pant and pace until she wore herself out, and then lay at our feet, exhausted.  Her anxiety still troubled us.  When we weren’t home, we worried about what fear she might be experiencing in our absence.

Finally we took her to the vet and explained the problem.  The vet gave us sedatives to calm her that we were supposed to give her at the beginning of a storm.  Again, if we weren’t home, we weren’t there to halt her anxiety.  We also found that the sedatives would knock her out for two days.  Sometimes the thunderstorms would last only minutes and be gone, other times hours, but poor Daisy was out for the count for days.  We tried reducing the dose, but often, by the time the storm passed, the sedative would just be starting to kick in.  It wasn’t working out well.

Then we went on vacation for two weeks and had a friend coming by to feed and tend to the critters.  He did not seem to see anything amiss when he came by, so we thought that she must be coping with our absence quite well.  We came home, and within days discovered that she had a place by the gate that she had been digging with all of her might.  Her nails were bleeding and her paws were filthy.  Her face stayed black from the mud as she would go out during the worst of the weather to dig.  My husband filled the hole and poured concrete around the threshold of the gate so she would have nowhere to dig.  Again, without much success with the sedatives, we went back to the vet.

This time, the vet had us try Prozac.  It seemed an odd choice in that she did not seem like a very depressed animal.  Except during storms, she was a quite well adjusted, happy doggie.   But we decided to give it a try.  The 20 mg dose seemed to make her lethargic and far too drowsy to suit her normally spunky personality, so the vet did a dose adjustment and we went down to 10 mgs.  Perfect!!!

Daisy is now a perfectly well adjusted, loving, calm and very happy dog, despite her determination.  She still checks on us during a storm, just to make sure that all are okay, but no more panic, no more trembling and shaking, no panting or pacing.  There is no more digging, and her paws have healed.  There are no more phone calls from neighbors.  She will go from room to room to see if the members of her flock are okay and then she will return to her bed under my husband’s computer desk and nap through the storms.  She is one peacefully happy determined dog who has finally found a home with a kind and loving, equally determined daddy.