Monday, September 26, 2016

Welcome to Banned Book Week ~ #MondayBlogs


While the subject isn’t very welcoming, the very fact that many of us live in a society where we are able to challenge the banning of books and even be able to get our hands on most on the list and actually read them is good news. So long as there are people who get angry over the censorship, readers who devour the words, and writers who continue to produce new books — it’s good. There are some countries where certain books are actually forbidden by law! In several free countries while specific books are removed from libraries and some book stores, it is not against the law to actually read these titles. It’s just more difficult to get our hands on them.
One of my favorite books has been banned in previous years; ironically the story is about book censorship, book burning, and the control of free thought. Fahrenheit 451 was about a futuristic world where free thinking was not only discouraged but punishable. The idea was that if no one was allowed to think for themselves there would be no disagreements and with no disagreements everyone would get along. And yet even in this world there were “Firemen” because there were people who were defiant and those books “needed to be burnt.” Fahrenheit 451 is allegedly the temperature at which the paper in the books would ignite.
A few books previously banned by governments are: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (China); American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (Queensland, Australia); Animal Farm by George Orwell (USSR, North Korea, United Arab Emirates); Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (Strongsville, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Snoqualmie, Washington); The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (Lebanon); Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (California); The Lottery (1948) by Shirley Jackson (South Africa); Peyton Place by Grace Metalious (Canada); The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Iran, Kenya, Kuwait, Liberia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Senegal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand); Sophie's Choice by William Styron (Lebanon); Spycatcher by Peter Wright (UK); and Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (US, South Africa). There are so many more.
In recent years according to the American Library Association many books are being listed as banned because of diversity, homosexuality, explicit sex, religious viewpoints and offensive language. As a writer I began to think of my own works and which (if I only had more prominence) of my books might be banned by these standards. I definitely have explicit sex and some foul language in several of my novels. One book centers on a Pakistani Muslim immigrant married to an American Christian. Another books deal with the trauma of rape. One of my short stories involves an interracial love affair. And while they are not the main characters I do have a Lesbian couple in a book.

I guess I am just one of those defiant writers. 
Be defiant — read a Banned Book today.

             9/25-10/1/2016

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

A dream job? ~ Weekend Writing Warriors / #8sunday / 09/25/16

Okay, even though I had this posted last week somehow I must have messed up entering the link, I thiught I did, but when I looked (after the Linky List was closed) I saw it wasn't there — and alas, NO comments. So I am entering this link AGAIN this week, I'll just make sure it actually posts.
Whether you observe Rosh Hashanah or not, L'Shanah Tovah, May you be inscribed for a good year.
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Hi! Welcome to another Weekend Writing Warrior and Snippet Sunday round. Every week writers post 8-to-10 sentences on their blogs from a published or unpublished book. Then we "hop" around and leave comments on each other's snippets. Whether our work is already published or in progress, the helpful comments help us become stronger writers on our next WIP. We welcome EVERYONE's comments.

See more at the
WeWriWa blog

& check out the
Facebook Snippet Sunday group


I'm sharing snippets from HYPHEMA, my second EMS novel. The hero in HYPHEMA was first introduced in Final Sin as the heroine's ambulance partner and best friend.

Matt Garratti, a paramedic from New York, moves his wife and son to North Carolina to work at his dream job as a flight medic. Pakistani born Sudah, his wife, receives frosty stares and insensitive comments from their new neighbors… Matt wonders if he is pursuing his dream or bringing his family into a nightmare from which they may never wake.

This snippet is from the end of the short prologue. Tony is the medical chopper pilot, Frank is a critical care flight nurse. (btw, my apologies, I had a lot going on this week, I'll do double time to get to your snippets this week) An LZ is a Landing Zone.


Creative editing (a.k.a. condensed to fit) alert!  Here are Eight lines...  

The LZ was lit up on the grounds of the hospital and Tony was preparing to put the chopper down. Matt and Frank remained quiet, all three men were communicating through the headsets in their helmets; the sound of the rotor above them would have made it too noisy to talk otherwise.
It was still his first week in the new job and only his second living in the area. It amazed him that Sudah was so supportive even though he practically yanked her and the baby from New York. She stood by him, never questioning his decision and saying goodbye to their friends without even a tear. He was going to do everything he could to make sure this worked.

Matt felt the EC 145 bank hard to the right as Tony brought the bird around. His harness held him securely in the seat, he smiled as he watched the landscape grow bigger and realized that he was finally in his dream job.

~~~~~
For more WeWriWa Snippets, go to: 

REVIEWS
 5 stars Nobody Writes It Better by Charmaine Gordon
four-starsI would read another one of her stories by Marcia


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What's It Like to be a Paramedic?


Being a Paramedic, an EMT, or any emergency first responder can be euphoric when a call goes well. There is probably nothing greater than delivering a healthy baby, bringing someone "back" when their heart had stopped, or pulling someone from a disastrous car wreck, packaging her the best you can because she has no more feeling in her legs, and hearing that she walked down her wedding aisle just six months later.

Being a first responder can also be devastating when you hear a child's last breath, have to pronounce a young mother who collapsed in front of her children, or get literally pounded on by a grieving family member while you are doing CPR and knowing he's not coming back.

While both of my EMS novels, Final Sin and Hyphema, are works of fiction, many of the emergency scenes are "real" and so are the emotional highs and lows. I dedicate both stories to the heroic devotion of all first responders.



Monday, September 19, 2016

Enthusiasm ~ #MondayBlogs


I had a really busy week (not all work related) and I was dragging by the time the weekend rolled around. By Saturday if I could have stayed in bed all day I would have. My husband’s sister and brother-in-law stopped by. Dear hubby brought dinner in so no one had to cook. Definitely a nice evening… but I still felt tired. And then my sister-in-law asked me how my writing was doing.

Suddenly I felt like I had a mega-dose of B12, caffeine, and my own box of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. I told her about some exciting developments and we spoke about a new manuscript I am fighting with. She gave me a helpful idea about one of my characters and it just felt right. We spoke about my non-fiction work and chatted about our real lives, offspring, future plans and more. We paused to take sips from our teacups and I realized, I wasn’t feeling tired anymore. I had a rush of child-like excitement and enthusiasm when I was talking about my work, writing.

No matter what your passion is when you get to do it, you’re happy. For me it’s being a writer. For others in my family circle passions include accounting, chemistry, psychology, photography, emergency services, and computers. Whatever career you pursue, in or out of the house, paid or volunteer, if it is what you want to be doing, it’s good for you.


Okay, in reality what Confucius had to say may be a bit simplistic, after all there are always going to be times we would rather be relaxing on a beach or enjoying a hike rather than having to be responsible. Sigh… But it does help when we can get up every morning (or whatever shift you work) and not feel dread as we get ready for our workday. Also, the person who enjoys what he/she does will probably put in more effort and take more pride in achievements which is noticed by higher-ups and translates to more security and possibly more opportunities.

What is it that you really, really like doing? Take a look at the help wanted ads and find things that tie in (for instance if you like sports perhaps you can find work as a little league coach). While you need to earn enough to cover your expenses, if you are severely unhappy with the work you do it will affect your health and in the long run you lose more than you gain. When you come home to your family feeling satisfied and encouraged you will be a better communicator, leader and more open to your family’s needs. Yay, improvement of family life!


Do some soul searching and focus on what makes you happy. You may have to work for a living, but you don’t have to give up your happiness.

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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Opening Lines from Hyphema ~ Weekend Writing Warriors / #8sunday / 09/18/16

Hi! Welcome to another Weekend Writing Warrior and Snippet Sunday round. Every week writers post 8-to-10 sentences on their blogs from a published or unpublished book. Then we "hop" around and leave comments on each other's snippets. Whether our work is already published or in progress, the helpful comments help us become stronger writers on our next WIP. We welcome EVERYONE's comments.

See more at the
WeWriWa blog

& check out the
Facebook Snippet Sunday group


I'm sharing snippets from HYPHEMA, my second EMS novel. The hero in HYPHEMA was first introduced in Final Sin as the heroine's ambulance partner and best friend.

Matt Garratti, a paramedic from New York, moves his wife and son to North Carolina to work at his dream job as a flight medic. Pakistani born Sudah, his wife, receives frosty stares and insensitive comments from their new neighbors… Matt wonders if he is pursuing his dream or bringing his family into a nightmare from which they may never wake.

This snippet is from the beginning of the story.


Creative editing (a.k.a. condensed to fit) alert!  Here are Eight lines...  

Matt was looking down over the dark water as they were being buffeted by the winds.
“It’s always choppy over here,” shouted the pilot.
They had just finished their pre-flight check when they got banged out on an emergency transport job. the patient, a diabetic male in his forties, was in distress after being pinned under a car in a freakish accident, he needed immediate transport to a level one trauma center.
North Carolina’s Outer Banks had a reputation for beauty and serenity, Matt was thinking of taking Sudah and Aden there for a weekend jaunt soon.
The area was served by a state of the art hospital center so any injured or sick could be treated there without the hour-and-a-half commute a car would need, with a serious trauma, patients could at least be stabilized, and air transportation used to one of the trauma centers inland.
“Have you ever been out here before Matt?”
“Nope, first time,” Matt had not ventured far from New York where he grew up until he decided to move his family to North Carolina after a job offer from NC Air EMS.

~~~~~
For more WeWriWa Snippets, go to: 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Fifteen Years to Think ~ #MondayBlogs


For me, like many others in America, yesterday, September 11, was a day of reflection, prayer, shudders, and probably some tears. Like many others in America I can recall almost exactly where I was, who I spoke to, the horror I felt as I watched (on TV) the buildings as one burnt, the other was attacked, and they both fell. There was added shock as we heard of the attack on the Pentagon and the plane crash in Pennsylvania. And like many other Americans I attended candlelight vigils, reached out to friends and relatives, and cried.

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001 I went back to bed after my son left for school for time to cuddle with my husband who had an unexpected day off. [He was working as an Audio Visual tech on a two-day event in NYC; due to a scheduling conflict the event was scheduled for the 10th and the 12th and was being held in the Marriot Hotel at the World Trade Center.]
Shortly before 9:00 AM my sister called, she had been watching TV, I remember her words, “A plane just hit one of the World Trade Center buildings… Go turn on your TV.” I ran to the living room incoherently repeating what I couldn’t yet believe, my husband followed. We turned the set on and saw flames from one of the buildings and it was just minutes later that we watched a plane hit building 2. I remember hearing someone, myself, repeating “Oh my G-d, oh my G-d.”
A friend of mine, a paramedic, called, the siren screaming behind her, asking me to cancel our ambulance youth squad meeting that night and telling me that her rig was heading to lower Manhattan. I remember the distress in her voice. I made phone calls and left voice messages cancelling the meeting.
My sister and I were on the phone again. She was calling relatives who worked in Manhattan to make sure they were all alright and we were running down the list.
Almost an hour after the first plane struck, building 2 crumbled with everyone watching TV witnessing it. My husband was getting dressed to head to our local ambulance corps building 40 minutes north of the devastation.
The phone rang again, this time it was our son, he was hiding in a school alcove using a cell phone from his backpack that was supposed to remain off while at school. “Mom, where is Dad?” I can still hear the terror in his words even now 15 years later. I was able to reassure him that his dad was safe.
About an hour and a half after I turned my television on, building 1 collapsed demolishing the Marriot Hotel and setting 7 WTC on fire. After another phone call, this time from my daughter (upstate at college) checking on our safety and telling me she was heading back home, I got dressed and followed my husband to the local ambulance corps where we both volunteered as EMTs.
People congregated at the building offering help answering phones, comforting and treating distraught walk-ins, and setting up rehab for any of the wounded transported here because the NYC hospitals were both overflowing and too close to an area in danger. I sat with two young men who were desperate to hear about family, one cousin and one father – the father made it home, the cousin perished in the rubble. We began to hear of other community members who were never going to come home again.
Most of the youth squad members showed up at the building despite receiving the messages. My daughter made the trek home and helped with all the phone calls, oversaw the youth members, and assisted walk-ins. At one point we received the directive from our county’s EMS control that most of the corps, including ours, were sending crews to the city. A few of our youth squad members helped outfit the truck with the specified equipment. My son was one of the teenagers assigned to readying the truck.
My husband was one of four EMTs who went to the city. Our rig was one of a long line of ambulances sent to the disaster from all over the tristate area. They stood by through the night and many went home the next morning frustrated by the lack of injured — too many deaths and too few still alive to receive treatment and transport, too few to save.
Fifteen years since this horror… the Freedom Tower now stands in lower Manhattan, and reflecting pools mark the footprint of the original buildings. The National 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center and many memorials throughout the tristate area have helped to document the events of the day. Families and friends who lost loved ones have learned somehow to survive with the loss and pain.

Those of us who lived the day will never forget.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Promise of revenge ~ Weekend Writing Warriors / #8sunday / 09/11/16

Hi! Welcome to another Weekend Writing Warrior and Snippet Sunday round. Every week writers post 8-to-10 sentences on their blogs from a published or unpublished book. Then we "hop" around and leave comments on each other's snippets. Whether our work is already published or in progress, the helpful comments help us become stronger writers on our next WIP. We welcome EVERYONE's comments.

See more at the
WeWriWa blog

& check out the
Facebook Snippet Sunday group


A long, long time ago I shared a few snippets from my Paranormal Romantic Suspense, Karma Visited (only 5) - and we didn't get a full taste of this . Since I am working on a sequel and revisiting the story for myself, I'm sharing more with you and soaking up your comments.

Do you believe in karma? Annie Furman has a gift that allows her, while she sleeps, to visit people in their time of need - but who will be there for her when she needs help? Undersheriff Dave Turner is investigating a series of home invasions and homicides. He has no idea that solving this case will lead him to the woman of his dreams.

Last week, after an angry town meeting, Annie overheard her husband and his friend promising to "stop" anyone who got in their way.
Annie is confronted by an angry Sherry Pulaski in a local store.

This will probably be the last snippet from Karma Visited (maybe?). I will be sharing snippets from another story in a week (or two).

Creative editing (a.k.a. condensed to fit) alert!  Here are Ten lines...  

“You tell your husband and his buddies I am not backing down and you tell them to keep the hell away from my son’s school.”
“Is everything okay with your son?” Sherry’s son had Autism Spectrum Disorder, she and her husband fought to mainstream the boy in school and make sure he received every resource he was entitled to.
“Trying to take services away from an innocent child,” Sherry let out a loud sigh, “that’s low.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s going on?”
Sherry paused her tirade to look at Annie, “Yeah, I’m sure you don’t.”
“I don’t,” she wasn’t sure if she was believed or being mocked.
“Well you tell him that I’m not backing down, they try to hurt my son and they’ll get it back where it hurts.”
“I am so sorry, he’s a sweet little boy,” she was still confused, “who hurt him?”
“If your husband screws with me or my family, he’s got a whole world of hurt coming, I will stop them.”

~~~~~
For more WeWriWa Snippets, go to: 


My life changed after I died.
It’s not like I had any special powers.
They just didn’t understand me.
They underestimated me.
I had a gift.

Buy Links



~~~~~


Monday, September 5, 2016

Yes, I’m Angry ~ #MondayBlogs


Yes, I am angry… and you should be too.
Sex can be great when it is something that BOTH parties want, but let’s not sugarcoat the ugly — sexual ABUSE is not great for anyone.
Sexual abuse, whether it is the stranger fondling someone on a crowded subway, forcing someone to perform a non-intercourse sex act, or a #NoMistakingItForWhatItIs rape is abuse and is wrong.
If you have to threaten someone with a weapon, physical strength, emotional blackmail or threats of punishment (of the victim or someone else) in order to “score”, then it is RAPE, ABUSE, WRONG. Clothing, intoxication, the hour of the day or night, or even a history of previous relations is NOT an invitation to get laid. The word NO means IT AIN’T HAPPENING. The inability to say no, or to say anything, means IF I CAN’T CONSENT, YOU DON’T HAVE PERMISSION. Rape is not a mistake, it is a malicious act. And rape is not even sex, it is a sick need for domination. And one more thing, REAL men do not rape, EVER.
Now be aware that rape and sexual abuse can happen to women or men, girls or boys. And sexual abuse can be instigated by men or women. Since I am a woman though I am using the female’s POV.
Most acts of rape or sexual abuse go unreported; many times this is due to shame, the belief that no one will believe the victim, that no one DOES believe the victim (schools are notorious for this), or that the victim is somehow convinced that SHE ASKED FOR IT. Sometimes it takes time before the victim can talk about it and it is long after rape kits can add validity. Sometimes the act can never be spoken about because that is just the way the victim has found to cope. Most times, thankfully, the victim moves on and survives and finds a way to work around the triggers that haunt her for the rest of her life. And sometimes the victim simply denies that she was ever abused… why? Because she couldn’t go on living if she admits it.
Sometimes rape is reported, immediately or shortly after, and the rapist is taken into custody… sometimes even the case does go to court. And invariably the victim is the one who is on trial, lawyers bring up the victim’s social conduct, the clothes she wore, brings in previous lovers to prove promiscuity, and G-d help her if she was ever abused in the past, they will use that to “prove” a pattern where the victim obviously enjoys it.
Of course not all is gloom, we do have a rare conviction now and then and a really fair and impartial judge acknowledges that a young man’s sports accomplishments would be ruined by a long imprisonment so he sends the guy to jail for a whole six months (with good behavior he’s out in three). And the judges who realize how charging a young man with rape could ruin his entire future now that is priceless.
Sigh, one more rant. I am aware that sadly not every report of rape is true, but false reports are extremely rare. There is the occasional set-up, publicity seeker, or woman who is looking to cover her tracks and lie about an illicit evening. And to these women, rare though it may be — your impact is huge and you may as well be raping these victims all over again, because each time your lies are exposed, more true and HONEST victims are doubted and made to suffer again. So congratulations for being part of the pain, I hope you can sleep well… even though you don’t deserve it.
If you have been victimized, you are not alone, you are not wrong and you have nothing to be ashamed of. If you care for someone who has been raped or abused you are not to be blamed. For more information on the ugly truth about sexual abuse, incest, and rape you can go here: https://www.rainn.org/after-sexual-assault and for support check out http://www.aftersilence.org/ or call the WOAR 24 Hour Hotline: 215-985-3333. You can Google regional support groups closer to your location if needed.
 You are not alone. You are not a lost cause. You can heal.