Monthly Archives: February 2016

In time for Valentine’s Day!

The Ghost of Valentine Past

Arriving tomorrow, on Valentine’s Day, The Ghost of Valentine Past!

A romantic weekend at Marlow House Bed and Breakfast turns deadly when Earthbound Spirits founder, Peter Morris, is murdered. Plenty of people had a reason to want the man dead—especially Danielle’s current guests. 

But it isn’t Morris’ ghost distracting Danielle on this deadly Valentine’s Day weekend, it’s her late husband Lucas. She has her hands full with suitors coming from all directions—both living and dead—while she tries to figure out if there’s a killer in Marlow House. 

You can preorder now, but I have a little secret. It seems the eBook has already gone live on Barnes & Noble, so if that’s your eBook store you can download the eBook now! This is a first, as my books seem to take longer to show up on Barnes & Noble than the other sites.

Hope you enjoy the book!

Amazon      Barnes & Noble      Smashwords      Kobo      iTunes

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Is pro-choice the same thing as pro-abortion?

When the last occupier of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, David Fry, ranted his grievances against the government before his surrender, one grienvance was a resentment for having to pay for abortions with his tax dollars. It was a tense situation, and no one bothered to explain that tax dollars cannot generally pay for abortions, only in certain cases, such as rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. Of course, for Pro-Lifers, even those exceptions are too great.

I grew up in a household where my father was pro-life and my mother pro-choice. Ironically, mom was the parent who believed in God, while Dad claimed the Bible was written by a bunch of smart Jews to keep people in line.

My mother was raised Christian Science (yet she saw doctors) while my father was raised evangelical Christian and regularly attended church at least twice a week while growing up. He rejected his fundamental Christian upbringing, yet he wasn’t an atheist, and by the end of his life, he had reached out to a higher power.

Therefore, his pro-life stand didn’t stem from his early religious upbringing, but by the fact his mother (who had been in an unhappy marriage) once confessed she would have aborted him had it been legal. I can certainly understand why Dad was pro-life.

I’m not sure if it is accurate to describe my views on abortion as pro-choice, yet I do not align myself with the philosophies expressed by those claiming to be pro-life.

I suppose, like traditional Christians, my feelings on abortion are based on my belief system. Basically, I see our physical body as a vessel—what holds our spirit. It belongs to us. It’s our private property—no one has the right to harm or inflict their will on our private property—our body.

I also don’t believe life begins with our physical body—the essence of who we are is our spirit or soul. I don’t believe our spirit or soul is created when our flesh and blood body evolves. It’s just where we settle to live out our time on this earth.

So basically, I believe a woman has the right to terminate a pregnancy in the very early stages—especially in the instances of rape. But once the embryo evolves and becomes a viable physical life—I move over to the pro-life category. While I believe a woman has the right to decide who occupies her body for nine months—if she goes past a certain point, then I feel that new body has established squatter rights. The mother has lost her right to evict.

The only time I can agree with a late term abortion is for medical reasons, especially to save the life of the mother. At that point, the rights of the mother’s physical body trumps the child’s, in my opinion.

As for the actual spirit or soul of the aborted fetus, I’m not even sure it has one yet. When does the spirit of who we are move into our body? And if that body is terminated, why wouldn’t we simply move into another unborn body?

For me, this concept was dramatically brought home when my father died. Mom and I were with Dad when he passed away. I sat beside his bed, talking to him, telling him I loved him, that he was a wonderful father, and urged him to follow the light.

Some thirty minutes after he flatlined, I remember looking at his body. It was the first time I had really looked at a dead body—one that hadn’t been tampered with by embalming and make up. It struck me how his physical body was now nothing more than an empty vessel. My father, the man we all loved, was no longer there. He had moved on. His body eerily reminded me of an abandoned building.

If you find my opinons on abortion cockamamie—you aren’t alone. One of my devote Christian friends found it hilarious. Yet, I’m very serious.

How do I know I’m right? I don’t. After all, with over 4,000 religions in the world, which one of us is right?

About four years ago I wrote a “what if” short story—It’s the future and Roe VS Wade has been overturned. American Bondage is just 99 cents and you can find it at Amazon.

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What I learned over at Twitter’s #OregonStandOff

IMG_1382 (1)Around noon Arizona time, the last of the four holdouts at the Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge surrendered to the FBI, with no shots fired. It was a little tense for a while, with David Fry—the last holdout—threatening to shoot himself after his three comrades surrendered.

I started following the story when it first broke—which I mentioned in my last blog post. Over the last few weeks I got hooked on Twitter, following hashtag “OregonStandOff.” While there wasn’t much about it on the national news, on Twitter there were tweets and links to videos posted—by the occupiers and others involved closely in the story.

It all came to a head last night, when FBI surrounded the camp occupied by the remaining four. Instead of negotiating directly with the FBI, the occupiers had self-proclaimed “liberty speaker” Gavin Seim on the phone. Seim live streamed the conversation for over four hours.

Nevada assemblywoman Michele Fiore jumped into the phone conversation and appointed herself as negotiator. Fiore is an interesting character—worth a quick Google. (As a three-times cancer survivor I tend to bristle at how she hawked her cancer cure which involved flushing the body with some salt water and sodium carbonate concoction.)

Afraid the FBI was going to gun them down upon surrender, they asked for Fiore and Franklin Graham to be present. (Graham had been negotiating for a peaceful solution for some time.) The FBI agreed.

The surrender was slated for this morning, and the first three went out as promised—but David Fry announced at the last minute he was not coming out. This did not come as any great surprise to many Twitter followers.

All of this was on live stream—as was the fiasco last night.  There were a few times this morning, while the holdouts waited for Fiore and Graham to arrive, that I thought the folks on the live stream were going to get the group to do something stupid, resulting in deaths. At one point, Victoria Sharp—the young woman present during the arrests of the leaders of the group, when LaVoy Finicum was killed—called in with her mother. The women told the four holdouts not to trust the FBI and urged them to defy FBI orders. I think Seim realized their words could inflame the situation, and he eventually got them off the phone.

The first three left without incident, but when David Fry decided not to leave, self proclaimed Constitutional expert and teacher, Kriss Ann Hall, got on the phone and tried to talk him into surrendering.

By the comments on Twitter, most seemed to agree with me—Hall and Seim were not helping the situation, if anything, they were agitating poor David. After several tense hours, they finally stepped aside and let the FBI do their job—and within minutes, the FBI diffused the potentially lethal situation and convinced David to surrender peacefully.

People like to blame main stream media for misinformation. In this case, supporters of the group were upset that main stream media barely—if ever—mentioned the occupation. I doubt this was some great conspiracy to hush up the story, as some claimed. I think it had more to do with poor timing regarding news cycles. After all, with the Iowa and New Hampshire caucuses, and more important stories, like the Flint water crisis, there wasn’t much time left for other stories.

One thing I found interesting—the GOP candidates did not once mention the occupation during their debates. If they supported the cause, they all kept mum. It doesn’t surprise me that they didn’t come out against the group, after all, that would mean alienating some of their base. I know that at least one GOP candidate—Ted Cruz—has appeared in photo opts with several members of the group. Of course, this was before the occupation.

Bottom line, I didn’t form my opinions by listening to the news—main stream media or online news sources. I formed my opinions by listening to what the occupiers themselves had to say on the videos and live feeds they put out—and by reading their statements and written demands.

To say I didn’t support the occupation—which many (including myself) see as domestic terrorism—is an understatement.

If you ask me what they were fighting for, that would be difficult to nail down, as the message got muddled along the way. Initially, they claimed to be protesting on behalf of two ranchers who were called back to prison to serve out the remaining term of their sentence for arson on federal lands. As it turned out those ranchers didn’t welcome their “help.”

The cause then shifted to turning federal land over to the state. After the leaders were arrested, one of their wives claimed they were simply there to teach the people of Burns about their Constitutional rights.

At this point, I had a visual of a political cartoon—a classroom of nervous students listening to a cowboy—who stood by the blackboard—lecturing them on the Constitution, while armed cowboys stood guard around the room—making sure the students stayed in their seats.

By the time it all ended, it was impossible to pin down their actual grievance. Poor troubled David Fry had rambled on about how the FBI let Hillary run for president, how he didn’t want his tax dollars used to pay for abortion (no one bothered to tell him tax dollars that go to Planned Parenthood to NOT pay for abortions), he resented the fact pot wasn’t legal in his state, and then he sort of lost me when he started talking about aliens and DNA.

While David Fry vented—which went out to whoever bothered listening to the live stream—he explained how he used his phone to educate himself and had learned all about these injustices. It was pretty obvious to many listening, what David had been sucked into were the numerous tinfoil websites—those that promote conspiracies like Sandy Hook being faked and the Feds taking over Texas.

While Kriss Ann Hall’s efforts almost got David to put a bullet into his head, in my opinion (listen to the tape yourself)—it was the FBI negotiator that David finally listened to (after he’d had enough of Gavin and Kriss) who diffused the situation.  In a matter of minutes, the FBI negotiator convinced David to peacefully surrender.

Listening to the spin now going on by the supporters of the takeover—I can only shake my head.  I wonder, is their failure to address David’s bizarre ramblings an indication they are hoping they can re-spin the story in their favor—or do they see nothing wrong with David’s comments?

I do find one thing comforting—the majority of Twitter comments occurring during the live feeds—from others listening along with me—expressed what I was thinking.

 

For those who want to hear the audio for yourself, here are the links:

Feb 10, 2016

Feb 11, 2016

 

 

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What hill would you choose to die on?

Havasu Palms, A Hostile Takeover

The month long occupation of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge hasn’t gotten a lot of attention on the evening news. Sympathizers insist it’s all part of the government conspiracy and mainstream media is being told to ignore the occupation. Personally, I think it has more to do with the Iowa Caucus and the fact Donald Trump is sucking up all the oxygen, along with more pertinent news stories—such as the Flint Water crisis. If any community had a reason to be pissed, it’s my dad’s hometown of Flint, Michigan, not some radical militia folks who want to privatize public lands.

I’m not sympathetic to the #BundyMilitia. Some might say that’s because I simply don’t understand the abuses of the Federal government, and just wait—soon they will be coming after my home! Umm…too late. That sorta already happened. If you read my book Havasu Palms, A Hostile Takeover, you’ll realize our family suffered far more losses after dealing with the Department of Interior than Bundy and his merry men.

Does this mean we were wimps—that we let the mean old tyrannical government roll over on us? Should we have been more like the Bundy boys—armed ourselves and seized the local BLM office?

My answer to the question—no. It doesn’t mean we were wimps; we simply had a clearer perspective.

Before I explain what I mean by clearer perspective, I’d like to take a closer look at the perceived enemy: the government.

What is the government? People are always bitching about it, as if it were some tangible entity like Elvis Presley or the Grand Canyon. But the fact is, the federal government is made up of federal employees—some good, some bad. The framework for the federal government is our Constitution. We have problems when government employees or citizens distort or ignore what’s in the Constitution. If we want to change the Constitution, there is a process, and it doesn’t involve armed bullies who hold our public lands hostage until their demands are met. Why do they presume to speak for the majority of Americans?

I’m a believer of ballots instead of bullets. I support our Constitutional right to protest—but once protesters decide to loot, steal, vandalize—or arm themselves and threaten to shoot people as did the Bundy group—I stop listening to their message. Because then, while they claim the “Federal government is infringing on my rights” they are actually the ones infringing on the Constitutional rights of other Americans.

Some may ask me, “Gee, how did that ballots thing work out for you?” I’d have to say, better than bullets worked for LaVoy Finecum. While some might believe he died for a worthy cause, I would have to disagree. That certainly would not be the hill I’d choose to die on. For one thing, I don’t believe for a moment the Bundy movement has done anything to further their cause. In fact, it makes the militia movement look like a bunch of extreme crazies to the general public. As for Finecum’s death, it was tragic, and I feel sorry for his family, but I watched the video, and I don’t believe for a moment he was murdered. If anything, it was suicide by cop.

My sympathies lie with the residents of Burns, Oregon. This fiasco has torn the small community apart. In my opinion, the actions of the Bundy group were supremely selfish, arrogant, and reckless.

Now back to what I meant by clearer perspective. We all have grievances. But we are a nation of laws, and if we each take up arms and threw a tantrum when things didn’t go our way, we’d have anarchy. And let’s face it; bitching about being oppressed in America is ludicrous when you look at other nations. I’m not saying we shouldn’t work (legally) to keep our government employees in check, but let’s not be drama queens about our perceived oppression.

Our country is a work in progress. In my opinion, we have some good bones—the Constitution is a solid framework. Of course, along the way we needed to make some changes—such as ending the atrocity of slavery and giving blacks and women the right to vote.

The federal government’s handling of Native Americans has been a screw up from the very beginning, which continues today. It’s a pendulum that swings radically from one side to the other, creating new problems and victims along the way.

Our family unfairly suffered losses at the hands of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, yet I imagine from their perspective, they were just sticking it to the white man; like the white man had stuck it to them for so many years. It didn’t matter that we always dealt with them honestly, and tried to work in the best interest of the tribe—they had their opportunity to do to us what was done to them, and they took it—with the Department of Interior’s blessings.

The tangled bureaucracy is not going to get fixed by arming ourselves and taking over some wildlife refuge. It may get fixed if we vote in the right people—and then it will take years.

In the meantime, I prefer to stick around and watch my grandkids grow up. Unlike Finecum, his is not the hill I would choose to die on.

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