E-Cig Forum Porchers Odyssey I

Upon return from week-long vacation with the vapers who literally saved my life, getting me off the stinkies, I had about 1000 emails. Needless-to-say, I couldn’t get to everyone, but I scanned through them all and commented where I could.

We had a blast with a group of sixteen that had gathered from around the country to share a house on Anna Maria Island. We had never met in person. I took a friend from Texas that we were hosting, and who had never seen the ocean, to the Atlantic before we joined the group. It is such a joy to see the world we take for granted through someone else’s eyes. We sat in Breakers Restaurant looking out over the ocean while we dined, sea breezes wafting through the windows.

She was a hoot. Afflicted with severe RA, she was determined to get in the water. We stepped with trepidation through the sand. Then she turned to me and said, “Hold my stuff.” With that, she marched straight toward the water on a mission. I didn’t try to stop her. It was a lifelong-long dream.

After crashing through the surf, a wave finally yanked her down and the smile on her face was worth a thousand sorrows. She swam and rolled in the water until the waves brought her back to the beach. I knew I couldn’t get her up by myself, but that’s what hard-bodied life guards are for…so I fetched her a couple. Another reason to smile. 🙂

The next day we joined the group in Anna Maria with our boat. I would have never expected to meet up with the most wonderful crowd that showed up at the Odyssey. We enjoyed their company immensely. The laughter, great food, awesome stories of more than a dozen lives shared, and the hugs touched me deeply.

Turquoise water, tropical breezes, sun, and fun is over for now, but the memories will live in my heart forever. It was an incredible, fantastic week and smiley was with us all the way while people marked things off their bucket list.

Odysssey I 083
En-route to Parasailing Adventure
The entire motley crew.
The entire motley crew.
Me waving good-bye
Me waving good-bye

Mandatory Follow Me By Email

I love you!

I really do. You’re the reason I’m here.

I want to connect with you, chat, see your posts, and share mine with you, but I have a confession to make up front.

There are some things I am lazy about, and going through the process of digging through my subscriptions manager to locate your blog once I have followed you to pull you out of my reader, which I NEVER look at, and put you in my email is probably not going to happen. WordPress denies me the opportunity to see all the posts of the many people I subscribe to in its reader. You get lost in there.

YOU have the POWER to make my life easier and connect in such a way that your posts will never be ignored. WordPress gives you a nifty tool.

Use that “Follow Me by Email” widget.

Please give me that option.

Put it in your sidebar and I promise you will get more engagement with readers like me who check their email daily. 🙂


Pardon Me While I Pull the Bearded Lady From the BR Stall

Today I’m writing from Starbucks because it was within walking distance from my house and 1) needed to get out, and 2) I need to get more comfortable with my laptop.

My query letter has been rewritten setting up the context of the book first rather than jumping straight into my book pitch. That’s supposed to ground the reader in the familiar. How the book is similar and different from other works, my target audience, and where it fits on the shelf.

Then I ease into the story description, not referring to Cara as a girl, but a young woman. We don’t want it to shock anybody by dragging children off to a nudist resort. Heaven forbid a child be put in a position to see a naked person. Please pull the drapes Michelangelo.

There is no mention of the word transgender in the letter. In the context paragraph, Brandi is described as inspired by Chablis from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, and how I wanted to create a female, brassy, badass character who could hold her own and prove herself a worthy heroine.

I’m really disturbed by the whole transphobia movement. North Carolina and Tennessee have new bathrooms laws requiring people to toilet in the bathroom of the sex that is on their birth certificate. I don’t give two shits who is in the room when I pee. When I have to go, I will go, even if it’s on the side of the road. I’ve peed in a ten story parking garage before. I’ve peed into a McDonald’s cup while stranded on an interstate between exits and behind a bad accident in broad daylight. My three year old son whipped it out and peed on a tree in the mall once. Not saying that was cool, but I guess if you have to go, you have to go. And many, many times in my life I have waltzed right into the men’s restroom to relieve myself when the lady’s was occupied.

Amazingly, there is NOT ONE documented case of a transgendered person assaulting anyone in a public bathroom…but people just love to make non-issues issues. Thousands of incidents of transgendered people being assaulted by cis-gendered. All the people insisting they don’t want their daughters in the BR with transgendered people are going to feel funny when out walk the female to male trans with their full beards. But hey, they were female on their birth certificate. People need to get out of the pants of other people. Surely we have bigger fish to fry.

We have a HUGE LGBT community here in Orlando and I’m anticipating some major confusion if these crazy bathroom laws are passed here. I would much rather my young granddaughters share a restroom with my girlfriends who used to be guys, than my guy friends who used to be girls. Not that I think ANY of my transgendered friends might assault anybody, but I do believe my granddaughters would be more comfortable with people in their bathroom that they can clearly visually identify with. It’s not like these people are dropping their panties at the door. I’m pretty sure they do their business in the stall. And my grandson might question why there’s a lady attempting to straddle a urinal in his bathroom. I seriously believe it would be better to just have coed potties and be done with it so all the appropriate questions about people’s PRIVATES can get answered. (Okay, not seriously.)

I mean, do these phobics really understand the consequences of what they are demanding? Their sons will be toileting with women who look like women. Their daughters will be toileting with men who look like men. WTF??? People need to educate themselves about the transition process before passing laws and freaking out.

I guess all the hype has the potential of aiding me with my series. I can see some amusing situations for Brandi developing.

Off Topic: Every time I read about the possibly of jailing women and doctors for abortions (not the male sperm donors, of course), I realize that we are moving closer to Sharia Law without the help of any Islamic religion. And let’s oppose both birth control and abortion so women remain as oppressed as possible. Okay, that’s off subject, but I just felt a need to share.

The RS helped me make a nice spread sheet to keep up with my query letters, names, emails, dates, responses. Trying to stay organized for the long haul. Still feeling twinges of ambivalence about the whole process.

I really have to go pee, so I’m going to leave this Comedy Central item here to entertain you while I go check Birth Certificates at the bathroom door.

Creative Complaining

Do you suffer from a chronic condition and feel like you’re constantly complaining but your listeners are at a loss with how to respond. Cynthia Reyes offers some tips she’s learned from her experiences.

Cynthia Reyes

Amazing how people can lie, when asked a simple question: “How are you feeling today?”

“Great!” they reply, when what they really mean is: “Horrible! Really horrible!”

Why do they lie?

“No-one wants to listen to a complainer,” says a woman I met in my pain management program at the hospital. “After a while, people don’t want to be around you.”

“Everybody’s already got their own troubles,” says a woman who’s living with cancer.

“What’s the point?” asks a man who recently lost his job. “Even if they listen, they feel helpless.”

And finally, from an elderly woman: “I just don’t want my children to worry.”

They had given up on telling the truth. Even people who find dishonesty repugnant, would sooner lie than admit the sad truth about how they’re feeling on a given day.


In my group at the rehabilitation hospital, most people I asked admitted they’d…

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Hot Off the Press: Honest Fibs, a Collection of SSF Short Stories

Like short stories and sci-fi. You’ll love this. I promise.

Nicholas C. Rossis

It's alive | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksHere is the promised update on the progress of Honest Fibs, my third collection of short stories, written in my trademark combination of speculative and science fiction: it’s alive!

Sorry, I mean, it’s live.

And you can buy it for the preorder price of $0.99 on Amazon until nextweek, when the price will go up to the normal price of $2.99. Unless you’d like a review copy, in which case I’ll happily send you a free one. Just drop me a mail or leave a comment asking for an ARC below.

Honest Fibs

Honest Fibs book cover | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Check out on Amazon

A mermaid turns out to be the perfect bait. A young man in the Badlands discovers the price of business. And a man desperate to escape his life finds out he’s not the only one.

These are just a few of the stories in Honest Fibs

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Released Today! ROUND TRIP FARE by @barbtaub #NewRelease

Barb Taub’s book: Round Trip Fare is Live!

Barb Taub

I’m so excited to announce that Round Trip Fare is now live!

**Although a sequel to Book 1 (One Way Fare), this is the stand alone story of twins Carey and Connor Parker.

Round Trip Fare
by Barb Taub

Round_Trip_Fare-Barb_Taub-1563x2500 Click on image for special preview and buy links from Amazon

Is it wrong that shooting people is just so much easier than making decisions? Carey wonders— and not for the first time. But the Agency claims this will be an easy one. A quick pickup of a missing teen and she won’t even have to shoot anybody. Probably.

Carey knows superpowers suck, her own included. From childhood she’s only had two options. She can take the Metro train to Null City and a normal life. After one day there, imps become baristas, and hellhounds become poodles. Demons settle down, join the PTA, and worry about their taxes. Or she can master the…

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The Comfort of That Faraway Sound

Sleep has not come easy for me for the past couple of weeks. There’s a lot happening on the home front. We have vacation coming up in a couple of weeks. There will be fifteen of us from around the nation gathered in a six bedroom house over in Bradenton near Anna Marie Island. We’re taking the boat, so there has been lots of prep work involved. A friend from Texas is flying in to our place a few days early and I’m really excited about this get-together. It’s an online group making this Odyssey and none of us have met in person. So this should be fun.

We have a young man staying with us temporarily. He will be house and dog sitting for us. He’s already pressured washed my pool deck, driveway, sidewalks and front patio, pruned all the palm trees, weeded my gardens, hauled off old lumber, washed all the ceiling fans on the lanai and cleaned out my pool twice…all while working a full-time job. He’s volunteered this work without us asking. He’s certainly earning his keep.

This evening we have the grandkids coming over while mama and daddy have date night. They love my chicken with rice and mushrooms and steamed green beans, so that’s what’s on the menu. The little one of the three just started walking. This should be interesting. They’ve all spent the night over together before and we survived. I’m just praying date night doesn’t get too jiggy. Not sure if I could handle four.

I spent nights over with my grandparents. They were my saving grace. Even after foster care I spent weekends there. After moving into The Ethel Harpst Home, we still came “home” on Holidays and summers. My mother’s mother lived in the small town in Georgia near the countryside where I raised my kids, until she fell ill and moved in with my Aunt. We bought her house and renovated it.

pmtn05dtpmThe town is divided by a railroad track. Grandma worked as a tailor at a little shop on one side of the tracks and she lived on the other side. She used to joke that she had her hands in the pants of every man in town. It’s amazing how we were trusted to walk from the shop to the house and back as such small children, crossing two busy highways and the tracks. We would get out and walk the tracks picking blackberries for something to do while she was working. We knew to get off the tracks when we felt them rumble, long before we heard the train or saw it. We ran all over town unsupervised, playing with the rabbits and kittens at the feed and seed store, watering the shop owner’s flowers, sliding down ice slides in the old ice house on hot summer days. We carried her deposit envelope to the bank every afternoon, never thinking about getting robbed. I couldn’t imagine giving my grandchildren such free reign in the city today.

Train passing through Pine Mountain in front of bank.
Train passing through Pine Mountain in front of bank.

At night, lying beside my grandma in her big feather bed, I would toss and turn unable to sleep, my head spinning with the day’s events. She would tell me to listen to the night sounds; the rain on the rooftop, the dogs barking, the mockingbirds, cats fighting and, without fail, the sound of the train passing through town.

My late mother and my grandson share the same birthday, March 26th. He’ll get his presents from us tonight. Last night, I lay restless in bed thinking of her and what she would think of her grandchildren. The faraway whistle of the train was the last thing I heard.