#worldkindnessday Walking The Talk

Since today is World Kindness Day, I’ll share some of the wisdom I’ve gained. I grew up in an abusive home where kindness was rare and bitterness prevailed. My days were spent surrounded by unhappy people who passed that unhappiness onto anyone who happened to be near. I can’t count the times I listened to my own flesh and blood excuse their terrible behavior on the fact that it had and was also happening to them. 

The old, “if i have to go through it, so do you” thing. I didn’t understand it then and as I’ve gotten older, I understand it even less. Being hurt is not a rite of passage. Life does not have to be a contest of who can endure the most. 

I’ve seen this thinking translate into other aspects of life as well. One of those is the way people discipline their children. The whole “I was spanked and I turned out fine so it must work” nonsense. It never ceases to amaze me when otherwise progressive and intelligent people spout this crap at me. People who base every other belief they hold in life off evidence and sound research fall into this trap and I just don’t get it. The studies are there. The proof is there. We know it doesn’t work. What’s left to justify? 

This applies to pretty much everything. Societies cognitive dissonance has disastrous results. We see homeless people and assume they are homeless by choice. They “didn’t work hard enough” or they “don’t want to work” ect… This is a commonly held belief even in the face of cold hard facts. Facts like the minimum wage being an unlivable wage. We KNOW for a FACT that it’s not enough money to pay rent. Yet, we refuse to raise the minimum wage. We expect people to make something work that just won’t. It’s madness.

We KNOW that our healthcare system is broken and people die due to lack of coverage or access to care. We KNOW this. The proof is in our faces at every turn. 

We know that our education system has failed. Especially here in Oklahoma. We KNOW that it’s not being properly funded. We know Standardized Testing does tremendous harm. We know that rigid adherence to a “sit down, shut up and memorize” method to teaching is a failed model. We know all of these things and yet it’s defended and the cycle continues to destroy unabated. 

Think of how far we could be as a species right now if our approach to everything was kindness. If we extended our empathy passed ourselves or our immediate family. If we actually cared about others well being and success and actively worked to help everyone reach their full potential. 

Kindness Quote 1

Just stop and think about what our society could achieve. Think of a world where no one goes hungry. Think of a world where no one has to sleep on the concrete under an overpass. Think of a world where each and everyone of us was cherished. 

This isn’t impossible. It doesn’t have to be hypothetical. All it takes to realize this reality is to be kind to everyone. 

Let us be the craftsman of this world. Let us stigmatize cruelty and selfishness. Let us think beyond ourselves and break this violent cycle of trial by fire.

Let every single one of us look at the hurt we’ve felt and pledge that we will not be the cause of that in another. 

Let us not live a life of endurance. Let us live a life of experiences and fulfillment. 

Let us not just survive, but actually live.

All human quote

 

 

 

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The “Alt-Left”

It’s funny that the whole “Alt – Left” thing is even a thing. I mean, it’s like a Twilight Zone episode.

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Imagine, if you will, a group of people who care about others so much they don’t want people to starve or be homeless or tortured and imprisoned for who they love. Imagine a world where those carers dare to claim that all people should have healthcare regardless of if they have money!

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I mean, how are we at a place as a species where that’s demonized? How are we at a place where we think it’s totes fine to deport a child immediately after she’s had surgery even though she’s been here since she was a toddler? How are we at a place where we value each other so little that we dehumanize anyone who was born on another piece of the planet than you?

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Sometimes I feel like I was born at the wrong time or maybe in the wrong country. I don’t know which. Something is definitely amiss though. I’m so far left I don’t even think we should have borders. I literally don’t get why people are so territorial. I mean, it blows my mind that people deny other people the basic necessities of life if they don’t have money. Your life’s worth is directly connected to money. It blows my mind that anyone anywhere is absolutely alright with this. 

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I’m so far left I think that if we just have to use a monetary system (which I’m not really convinced is the right path) everyone should have a basic income. I also think that any education should be free and available to anyone. I honestly believe that people should work at what they have a passion and aptitude for and not just to make the most money. 

I really think that government policies should be solely based on evidence. 

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If you’re wondering what got me on this rant it was of course the comment section on Facebook. I guess I like to torture myself or something but I did a real stupid thing and I clicked on the comments on a post that a local Fox News station had about that little girl who is being deported after her surgery. One guy compared this sweet little girl to rats. It made me cry to read that. My husband just shook his head and told me I shouldn’t read those since I get so upset every time I do. 

I kinda feel like I have to read those comments sometimes though. It’s like I have to call these people out. I know it doesn’t really do any good but I do it anyway. At least I’ve done something.

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Book Spotlight “CrossRoads: Women Coming of Age in Today’s Uganda”

They are rooted in their culture’s rich traditions, yet they stand at the cutting edge of change. This is the crossroads where many Ugandan women find themselves today. With dignity and grace, they play a complex social role, balancing worldly sophistication with reverence for the values of their upbringing.

        In Crossroads, a group of these women explore the past that shaped them and the future they hope to build, telling varied stories about a rapidly changing society where they serve both as guardians of culture and harbingers of reform.

While one woman examines the cultural implications of Ugandan names, another describes being tortured in a secret prison, and a third traces the mix of African and imported religions that shaped her. One mocks girls’ traditional sex education, while another voices her love of sports and a third reflects on her struggle to overcome a legacy of growing up in a war zone. All challenge social expectations, yet many view “modernization” with ambivalence.

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    Covering topics from sex roles to western ideas of “development,” this compelling picture of the lives of women in today’s Uganda, sometimes funny and sometimes tragic, provides powerful testimony to the strength of the human spirit.

The Prey Of Men

Hi world, it’s me again. That crazy Mom who yells at old ladies in Target or Wal-Mart or fill in the blank store. Yep, it’s me. I’m the Mom who yells at weird guys whose eyes linger just a bit too long on my children or on me. Did I embarrass you when I called you out? Too mother fucking bad. Did I draw attention to your scumbag ass? GOOD. 

Stop looking at me like I’ve betrayed you when I loudly ask you why you’re following me in the store. Stop following me around in the store. I mean, you asked for it.

I rarely go anywhere with my children unless my husband is with me. Hell, I rarely go anywhere at all without my husband with me. Once, I thought his presence would deter the weirdos. He’s a big guy. I am a small woman. It’s a sad miserable world I live in where I have to fear for my life and my children’s when I leave my home. You’re probably thinking that I’m being paranoid….

Let me tell you a story.

A week ago my husband and I took the kids to Target in Tulsa. We weren’t in a “bad” part of Tulsa. We took the kids to pick out a toy as a potty training reward. While in the store a man in his 60’s starts following us. My 6ft 3 inch husband doesn’t notice at first. I notice. The kids want out of the basket to look at the toys. I agree and tell my husband to guard one side and I the other. Creepo comes into the aisle we are in. He picks up a few toys and puts them back down. His eyes dart from the shelf to my almost two year old daughter with her white blonde hair held back in a pink flowered barrette. I move in front of her and block his view. I stare at him. He stares at me. He smiles and tells me what a beautiful daughter I have. Tells me we’ll be beating the boys off with a stick. My husband notices the Creepo and picks up our daughter and son to put them back in the basket. The Creepo walks past me in the ailse and as he passes the basket his eyes linger on my daughter. I ask him to not stare at my child. He laughs and walks away. 

Later, as we make our way to the other side of the store to get dog food I keep seeing the man. He passes by us over and over again. This time he is on his phone. While my husband reaches down to put the dog food bag under the cart I see the man lift his phone to take a picture of my daughter and son. I block his shot with my body and loudly tell him not to take pictures of my kids. He hightails it out of there. I alert a Target Employee of what’s going on.

While we are checking out I see the man again. He is with an older woman around his age. They are standing at the front of the store. When we walk out his eyes are on my kids. I seethe in anger. My husband is furious. I see the employee I alerted talking to another employee. I point at the man and mouth wtf. Employee shrugs and looks away. We get to our car and leave. 

That night, my son tells me he didn’t like the weird man in Target. My 4 year old son tells me he won’t let the weird man take his sister. My 4 year old son tells me he’s glad Daddy was there and is so strong. My 4 year old son tells me he thinks the weird man could of beaten me up but not Daddy. My 4 year old son’s joy in his new toy in overshadowed by the fear some creepy man in Target put in him. I comfort my child. 

Later, I lock myself in my bathroom and cry. I caught my husband wiping his eyes as he watched our kids playing with their new toys.

That is one story of many that I have. My oldest child is only 4 and this has been happening for years. My daughter is not even 2 years old and she is the prey of men. 

Kidnapping facts

 

 

I’m Going To Talk About Inequality – Die Mad About It

I’ve spent the better part of my life being belittled for having the audacity to have actual feelings and….get this…showing them. I know, how dare I inconvenience the world with my empathy. How dare I think it’s ok to cry at a sad part in a book in public. I mean, what if someones kid sees me. I might ruin someones $5 coffee for god sakes. I MIGHT BREAK THROUGH THEIR EVERYTHING IS FINE FACADE IF I DARE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE HOMELESS PERSON ASKING FOR CHANGE OUTSIDE THE STARBUCKS. How could I be so insensitive?

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I know you’re all sick of hearing about inequality and how some people can’t afford food or a house to live. I mean, do we really have to talk about it so much? It’s only children going hungry. If they really wanted food they’d go get a damn job. They would work hard for what they want just like the rest of us…..wait…oh yeah, you went to a posh private school and had college paid for by your folks. So, other than that you earned…oh yeah, don’t forget that down payment your folks gave you for your first house. Oh, and the car they gave you and and and the phone bill they still foot or the insurance they still pay. Let us not forget the healthcare your folks have had covered since you were but a bright spot on an ultrasound. 

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Turns out you didn’t gain your rank in life off your own merit. Have the balls to admit it and the rest of us won’t have to keep shoving your face in it. MMMMkay.

Check out this link to see how your privilege gives you a head start in the race of life.

RACE OF LIFE

 

Age Appropriate Censoring Is Not The Same As Banning.

As a parent, I’m faced with the question of what to censor and what not to censor pretty much every single day. From songs to books to movies I have to evaluate pretty much everything. This is the way of the world and while it’s a pain in the butt sometimes, it’s part of being a parent. I consider myself pretty liberal in most ways but I am not going to give my small kids free range to watch or read or listen to anything. Censoring things until my kids are the appropriate age to understand what they are seeing isn’t the same thing as banning it. I’m not saying that they will never get to choose for themselves. I’m not saying that I will go to war with my kids over music or movies with moral superiority. I am saying that at four and two, my kids aren’t mature enough to decide what they see or hear. 

I’m not trying to put them in a bubble and keep them ignorant of the perils of humanity. However, I am trying to make sure that when they are faced with a serious topic, they are of a mind to understand it and make whatever peace they need to with it. 

I recently saw a post in a mom’s group on Facebook that asked for some advice on censoring. The child was seven and had been watching the Netflix series “Shameless”. I’ve watching quite a bit of these episodes and in no way think it’s at all appropriate for a seven year old. However, the Mother in question was asking what to do now that her child had already seen some of it. Should she ban the child from watching further? How should she broach the subject of what the child had already seen? I gave my advice there and I’ll give it here since it’s pretty universal.

What the child has already seen can’t be unseen so ignoring a subject isn’t going to help anyone. I would start with asking the child if they have any questions about what they saw. That way you don’t bust into topics that aren’t a worry but still address what the child is curious or conflicted about. Also, child settings should be put into place on any equipment the child has access to. Keeping an eye on your child isn’t invading their privacy. It’s taking care to make sure your child is introduced to subjects at the right time.

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Banning something out right is a whole different matter. Intentionally withholding information due to religious bias isn’t alright. It’s not your right to force your kid into believing as you do. They don’t belong to you. They are not your canvas to paint as you see fit. They deserve the right to disseminate the information in their own way and make their own conclusions. Banning them from reading freaking Harry Potter isn’t going to win you any points. It just makes you an asshole who is afraid that your world view won’t hold up under some scrutiny. 

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I can’t think of much that I would outright ban in my home. My kid wants to read about the holocaust when they’re older? Sure, lets look at the information. My kid wants to study Satanism? Sure, lets check it out and see what’s going on. Kid wants to go to a Church or Mosque? Why not. Lets go on an adventure. Interested in bondage sex? Polyamory? At the right age, I’m here to talk about what’s on your mind. These are opportunities for me to talk about consent or religion or the horrors humanity has wrought. These are opportunities for me to be the parent who turns out an educated and confident human. A human who doesn’t get rapey at the sight of a scantily glad person. A human who doesn’t distrust and hate another because they have a different skin color or speak a different language. 

When you ban a book or a movie or a song, what you’re really doing is taking away your kids ability to have empathy for another. You’re taking away the chance that they will see another person as another person and not buy into some nonsensical stereotype. You’re taking away the chance to build self esteem in your kid and you’re taking away a chance for them to find who they are in the safety of a parent relationship. 

So, think about it before you swing that ban hammer. The consequences could be more than you bargained for.

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Nasty Comments & Crazy People

 

       I would say that this must be the week of the crazies but honestly I seem to draw a fair amount of them most of the time. Usually the nasty comments are mostly on Twitter but it seems they’ve migrated to my blog. Damn it Yay! 

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Wondering why you haven’t seen them? BAN HAMMERED those bastards I don’t approve nasty comments. If you just disagree with me on a book or a subject I won’t censor your comment but if it’s advocating violence or you cussing me out….yeah, I’m probably not going to let it post. 

           I got one the other day on my post about Oklahoma Turnpikes from forever ago (way to creep my page weirdo) that called me a bitch and told me if I didn’t like how things worked I should start ‘slaughtering politicians’…… Uhm…. holy shit this guy has lost his fucking mind Wow that guy is unhinged. I do not now or ever suggest that anyone “slaughters” anyone else….ever. He went from 0 to ape shit immediately.  Calm the heck down bro! Take a chill pill ( do people still say that?). I’d rather just vote out politicians whose policies I don’t agree with. Killing them is a bit harsh…I mean…if I killed every person I didn’t agree with….there wouldn’t be many people left. Plus, I’m a lover not a fighter. Peace is an actual solution people. Oh, and as of now, I’m still legally allowed to complain when politicians do stuff I don’t like. So, I think I’ll raise my voice and not a weapon because murder is a big fucking deal and I’m not about to take someone’s life over the dollar or so I have to pay to drive on a road. I mean, get perspective. 

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As if that wasn’t crazy enough, I’ve received about 20 emails from some guy pervert  asking me to review his graphic erotic novel……NO means NO fella. Just….read my damn review policy and these types of crazy situations won’t happen. When I said no he got his panties in a bunch upset and said it’s my fault his book can’t get any reviews…..dude, I’m not responsible for what other reviewers are telling you. 

To top all of that off, when I was mowing my backyard yesterday a rabid probably rabies infested tiny mouse ran up my BARE LEG till he got to the edge of my shorts and ran back down and away. So, I’m probably going to die thankful he didn’t decide inside my shorts looked like a path he wanted to take. 

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Oh, and I found a dead mole on my doorstep this morning. So, yeah. Good times.

 

Books That Matter

As a parent, one of my main goals is to raise my kids to care. Not just care, but care deeply. I want my kids to see other’s suffering and genuinely want to change it. I am doing my best to contribute to a generation that has the skills (emotional, educational & physical) to face the trails headed their way. Trials like deep inequality, rampant homelessness, lack of adequate food, clothing, health care and sadly the repercussions of perpetual war. I want my kids to feel empowered to make changes. A good way to do that is to give them a deep understanding of each issue. Books are a great tool to achieve this.

Malala Yousafzai Quote

    When I was growing up war was just the way things were. No one took the time to explain to me that there were other ways to handle attacks from other countries. I remember sitting in my classroom in middle school as the Twin Towers were hit by those planes. We watched the people jumping from the buildings on our tiny bulbous screen hung in the top corner of our classroom. About the time my teacher realized that people were jumping to their death in front of a class of children she turned the TV off. 

Another teacher came into my class and the two of them angrily discussed blowing those terrorists to smithereens. My classmates heatedly discussed how America would kill them all. In middle school…the KIDS went straight to death. There was no talk of any other way to handle the attack. I remember sitting and looking at all that anger and hate and all I could feel was devastation at the choice those people jumping had been forced to make. My mind reeled with the horror I knew was coming to the country responsible. I knew in a round about kind of way what happens in wars. I knew because every chance I had I was reading story after story about anything and everything. I cared because from a very young age my brain was used to thinking from anothers perspective.

I want my kids to think diplomatically and find solutions other than to kill everyone. I want my kids to understand that a handful of people from a country do not represent an entire populace. I want my kids to find solutions to complicated issues.

Einstein Quote about peace

  One way to do that is to read them or have them read stories that illustrate the consequences of war and poverty. I recently stumbled upon the “Through My Eyes” series while browsing books in my local library. At 20 months and 4 years my kids are still too young to read these but you can bet I will introduce them later. I suggest you read through them and introduce them to your kids when appropriate. 

Naveed CoverThe explosion jolts him awake. He sits up, gasping for air, heart thumping.

Was the blast real? Perhaps it had only happened in his head, a bad dream. Demons of the dark, his father had called them. ‘Push them away. They’ll only poison your thoughts. Seek the light and they can’t hurt you.’

Naveed is sick of war – of the foreign powers and the Taliban, the warlords and the drug barons that together have torn Afghanistan apart. He’s had to grow up quickly to take care of his widowed mother and little sister, making what little money he can doing odd jobs and selling at the markets. When he adopts Nasera, a street dog with extraordinary abilities, he has a chance to help rebuild his country. But will a new friend’s betrayal crush his dreams of peace forever?

Amina CoverAmina lives on the edges of Mogadishu. Her family’s house has been damaged in Somalia’s long civil war, but they continue to live there, reluctant to leave their home. Amina’s world is shattered when government forces come to arrest her father because his art has been officially censored, deemed too political. Then rebel forces kidnap Amina’s brother, forcing him to become a soldier in Somalia’s brutal ongoing war.

Although her mother and grandmother are still with her, Amina feels vulnerable and abandoned. Secretly, she begins to create her own artwork in the streets and the derelict buildings to give herself a sense of hope and to let out the burden of her heart. Her artwork explodes into Mogadishu’s underground world, providing a voice for people all over the city who hope for a better, more secure future.

 

Shahana Cover‘Open your eyes. We will not hurt you.’
The boy quietens; his eyes open.
‘Where are you from?’
The boy stares at them both; then says, ‘Who will you tell?’

Shahana lives alone with her young brother in the shadow of the Line of Control, the border patrolled by Pakistani and Indian soldiers that divides Kashmir in two. Life is hard, but Shahana ekes out a living with her beautiful embroidery. Then she finds a boy lying unconscious near the border. Zahid is from across the Line of Control, and Shahana takes a terrible risk by sheltering him. But how can she give Zahid up to the authorities when she knows he’ll be imprisoned – or worse?

An unforgettable novel about one young girl in war-torn Kashmir.

Emilio CoverFor high-school student Emilio Garcia Lopez, it’s an ordinary school day. But that evening the knock on the door announcing the arrival of his police officer cousin Juanita, flanked by a tall man in the uniform of the Federal Police, will turn his ordinary day into the beginning of a long nightmare. Emilio’s mother has been kidnapped in broad daylight from a hotel car park by unidentified criminals, who appear to know a great deal about her business and who have mistaken her for a wealthy businesswoman. An action-packed story set in a contemporary conflict zone.

 

 

Malini CoverMalini lives with her parents and young sister, Banni, in northern Sri Lanka. As the civil war heads towards its catastrophic end, Malini and her family are herded by Tamil Tiger troops towards the coast where they and thousands of other Tamil civilians will act as human shields. When Malini’s father pushes a phone into her hands and tells her to run off into the forest with Banni, Malini does as she is told. But then the shelling begins, and Malini has no way of finding her mother and father. With the role of parent thrust upon her, Malini has no choice but to travel to her grandfather’s village a long way inland. She and Banni will need to keep off the highways and stay alert for soldiers. But where will the next meal come from? Who can they trust? Where will they shelter? And will they ever be reunited with their parents again?

Zafir CoverZafir has a comfortable life in Homs, Syria, until his father, a doctor, is arrested for helping a protester who was campaigning for revolution. While his mother heads to Damascus to try to find out where his father is being held, Zafir stays with his grandmother – until her house is bombed. With his father in prison, his mother absent, his grandmother ill and not a friend left in the city, Zafir must stay with his Uncle Ghazi. But that too becomes dangerous as the city becomes more and more besieged. Will Zafir survive long enough to be reunited with his parents?

Dystopian Novel Societies & Their Impact

Dystopian novels are super popular and I know I’m not the only one who has given serious thought to how crappy existing in one of those societies would be. Dystopian novels burrow deep into our psych and give us way more than just entertainment. This genre has a power that most others just don’t. Novels like “The Handmaid’s Tale” influence politics and it’s symbols have been used in many a protest in an effort to protect women’s rights. Novels with that kind of power tend to find themselves quickly thrown into the “banned book” pile with lots of outrage on both sides of the aisle. There’s been so much outrage regarding this particular book that it’s found itself on the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books list for 20 years. At my tiny high school in Oklahoma we most certainly didn’t read it. I read it on my own and it was eye opening. I’ve since read it at least 30 times and it hits me just as hard as the first time, every time.

The Handmaids Tale Cover

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I think what is most haunting about “The Handmaid’s Tale” is that Atwood wrote only about restrictions that have actually happened in real life. Most of the time books that are based off truth make me very nervous but what really gets my cogs turning is the books that speculate. Books like “Life As We Knew It” or “The Last Orphans” open a window of possibilities. The scenarios in both of these books are completely out of the blue and throw the world into chaos. It’s those scenarios that scare me the most. There is no where far enough to run in these worlds. “The 5th Wave” is another one that leaves me shaken.

I’m thankful for the freedom that remains in fiction and it’s ability to bring to life every scenario possible. I would like to see these writers given more credit for the depth of influence their writing has. Seeing the extreme consequences of an action either by a government or a natural disaster gives us the ability to see the ripples possible with every decision we make as a populace. There is no price tag on preparedness. 

Another thing to consider is how dystopian writers explore ethics of science and religion. It’s like the saying “just because we can doesn’t mean we should”. I know with the rise of CHRISPR and even when stem cells were beginning to be used, religious leaders were and are in a bit of an uproar. I’m not against either of these but I’ve seen a lot of people throw one heck of a fit about it. From what I’ve seen personally, I think a lot of the anger has more to do with a lack of understanding then anything else. While I know that the US public school system struggles to fund even the most basic of an education…. I am thankful that books and movies help bridge that gap some. The real solve for this issue is a better education and I feel that superstition will fade with better understanding. In the meantime, I would like to see books and movies come even closer to actual science and explore further. 

While on the subject of ethics, I’d like to bring up how dystopian novels also breed enormous amounts of empathy. One book, “The Dean Machine” flips the script on puppy mills. Instead of dogs, the appalling conditions are experienced by humanity. Dylan Lee Peters dives deep in his book and it’s one of the most eye opening and disturbing things I’ve ever read. It also made me take a deep look at society and it’s treatment of animals in general. Author’s have a lot of power in this regard. They literally help shape public opinion and can make real changes with the power of their words. 

What are some dystopian stories you’ve read that shook you? 

Check out the books mentioned in this article below!

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I guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonald’s still would be open.

High school sophomore Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, like “one marble hits another.” The result is catastrophic. How can her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis are wiping out the coasts, earthquakes are rocking the continents, and volcanic ash is blocking out the sun? As August turns dark and wintery in northeastern Pennsylvania, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in a year’s worth of journal entries, this heart-pounding story chronicles Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all—hope—in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world. An extraordinary series debut!

Susan Beth Pfeffer has written several companion novels to Life As We Knew It, including The Dead and the Gone, This World We Live In, and The Shade of the Moon.

The Last Orphans Cover

 

One horrifying day will change the life of sixteen-year-old Shane Tucker and every other kid in the world. 

In a span of mere hours, the entire adult population is decimated, leaving their children behind to fend for themselves and deal with the horrific aftermath of the freak occurrence. As one of the newly made elders in his small town, Shane finds himself taking on the role of caretaker for a large group of juvenile survivors. One who just happens to be Kelly Douglas—an out-of-his-league classmate—who, on any other day, would have never given Shane a second glance. 

Together, they begin their quest to find out why all of the adults were slaughtered. What they find is even more horrifying than anything they could have expected—the annihilation of the adults was only the beginning. Shane and his friends are not the unlucky survivors left to inherit this new, messed-up planet. No, they are its next victims. There is an unknown power out there, and it won’t stop until every person in the world is dead. 

the-5th-wave    After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

 

The Dean Machine Cover  Meet Dan Delacor, an utterly boring citizen of Yellow City. Every day he puts on his yellow shoes, yellow shirt, yellow pants, and yellow tie, and catches a ride on the Tunnel Runner from the suburbs into downtown. He has a job, a home, and a girlfriend, and he never wonders what waits beyond the giant glass wall that surrounds Yellow City.
Except… Dan isn’t as boring as he seems. He often wonders why everything in Yellow City has to be yellow. He wonders why he suffers frequent anxiety attacks, and why he can’t help himself from strolling through dangerous neighborhoods, or running wildly through the fields that separate downtown from the suburbs. Mostly though, Dan wonders why he can’t remember how he lost his right arm, or anything that happened before five years ago.
So, when Dan’s mundane yellow world is interrupted with the seemingly impossible presence of a little red dog named Dean, he quickly finds out there are answers to his questions, and that everything he knows is a lie.
Follow Dan as he learns the secrets of his true identity, the scope of the world beyond the wall, and the true intentions of Yellow City’s mysterious leader, Chancellor Elgrey Vinsidian. Meet Wendy, the twelve-year-old girl on a rescue mission, Echo Valkzdokker, the woman with a love for danger, James Perkins, the wily pilot who has a way with words, and Bianna Kensington, the cold-mannered rebel with a cause. Look through the cracks of this new world with Dan as he learns why his little friend is nicknamed The Dean Machine, what special bond they share, and why the dog deserves a legacy that should live on forever.

He lives to love.
He would die to protect.
His heart is a machine.

Indie Author Spotlight – Tracey Brame

Originally from Indianapolis, Tracey Brame graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point with a degree in political science. Since then, she has earned dual masters degrees from the Kelley School of Business and the Thunderbird School of Global Management. She is the owner of West Point Financing, an equipment leasing company, and has devoted her life to exposing the modern, coercive methods of white supremacists in the United States.

Tracey Brame Author Pic

The Interview

Q: “Undeterred” was a real eye opener for me as I read. What are your hopes for the book? 

I hope every American regardless of political affiliation  reads the book to understand that the tactics of the modern Ku Klux Klan being carried out against modern citizens under the nose of society. I hope women read it twice since they are the greatest target.

 

Q: Since the release, has anyone attempted to contact you or threaten you about what you’ve written?

Not yet. There is a rare chance that the KKK does not know that the book is available. I’m comfortable with my decision to write my story.

 

Q: It seemed to me that the military doctor who initially examined you after your rape was very concerned for your safety but had his hands tied on what he could do about it. Do you feel like there was more he could of done? Did Military Police do an investigation based on the doctor’s findings?

The doctor saved my military career. He false passed me which happens in the military.  Ultimately someone with PTSD will destruct upon coming out of shock. Mine was a more severe case than that doctor could have known. Had he called the Military Police I would never have graduated.  I have no hard feelings for him. He was in a tough position.

Q: In the book, you mention a number of times that you spaced out conversations and had large pieces of your encounters that went missing from memory. Do you think if PTSD was discussed more and the symptoms much more well known you would of recognized this pattern or someone close to you may of?

No. A PTSD patient cannot diagnose themselves when they have memory loss. It’s not like depression where you can see the signs. Your brain cannot access the memory. When it does you need help immediately. Some PTSD cases are more severe than others. Some people are bothered by thoughts and flashbacks, but coming out of shock can be just as dangerous as going into shock.  Someone I trusted told me to run to the veteran’s hospital. We have to convince the sufferer to seek help.

 

Q: For me, reading this book was a very emotional experience. Has writing it helped you to work through your attacks?

Yes. I wrote the book quickly, cleanly. It was like a relief to be done with it.

 

Q: I personally believe that the KKK are domestic terrorists and should be handled as such. Do you share this view?

I agree with you, but the crimes that I experienced are the work of organized criminals, so my book takes that position.

Q: With writing this book you have made very public a piece of society that many try not to recognize exists. With the rise of Trump and his cabinet, do you feel that the KKK and white supremacist movement have heightened the probability that more people will endure what you have?

I think that as long as the KKK can influence appointments and positions they create a lasting impression on agencies like the FBI which would normally oppose them by design. Literally they can create scenarios where they are or are not policing themselves. This will make it easier for them to get away with more organized crime.

 I would like to thank you for reviewing my book and taking interest in my story.

Allie- Thank you for taking a stand and exposing this very dangerous terrorist organization. I am in awe of your bravery and perseverance. 

Undeterred Cover

Amazon Buy Button

Tracey Brame took an oath to serve the nation at the United States Military Academy. When she revealed an interest in entering politics during formation, a cadet violently attacked her. Brame subsequently suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and a dangerous memory loss known as dissociative amnesia, in which the victim cannot recall suffering a traumatic attack. She kept charging through her West Point duties oblivious to her condition.

After serving her commission time, Brame took a job back in her home state of Indiana. Again she expressed an interest in entering politics, and again she paid a price. The Ku Klux Klan, who did not want an educated African American woman to run for an Indiana office, targeted Brame for continued, organizational crime and harassment. She moved from Bloomington to Indianapolis, but the KKK pursuit—ordered by two grand dragons, a father/son duo, both doctors—continued.

Get ready for a gripping memoir of one woman’s perseverance over adversity.