Monday, November 21, 2016

As we enter the holiday season...



As we enter the holiday season, let me be the first person to wish you all a very happy holiday season--whichever one(s) you celebrate. For Americans, most of us celebrate Thanksgiving in November and a holiday or two in December and New Year's Eve. So, please consider yourself "greeted" by yours truly. (If you like, you can return the holiday greetings in the comments below.)

I wanted to make this holiday greeting announcement fairly early on in the season so that what I'm about to say next wouldn't come as a shock to you: I've decided not to send any Christmas cards this year. Don't worry--I will give gifts to close relatives, and I will decorate my tree and house as usual. I'm not going to be a total "Scrooge." The reason why I'm not sending out holiday cards is to make a statement: Not everyone is going to experience a "Happy Holiday!" this year. I feel that the money I spend on postage and cards could be better put to use helping others have a happier, safer and more just 2017, so I plan on doing just that.


You might not be aware of what is happening at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation  with the Dakota Access Pipeline, but this would not be because I haven't shared this information frequently on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on the weekly blog I edit, Our Revolution Continues and in several pieces I've written for Political Storm.  Since this is Celine's blog I won't go into details here (you can easily click on the links provided for those), but I wanted to share the reason behind the statement I've just given. 


How can I say the words, "Joyous tidings of the season to you," or "Peace on Earth, good will to all mankind," when horrendous injustices are being inflicted on our peaceful water protectors of the Missouri River? I just can't.

Instead of mailing out hollow words of joy to friends and family, I will use those funds to help out the people of Standing Rock and elsewhere who are in need. If you feel inclined to help others in need this season instead of mailing cards and letters to the names on your Christmas list, please feel encouraged to do so. I won't feel slighted in the least if I don't receive a card from you. In fact, I'll feel very happy and proud to call you my friend for putting the needs of those suffering injustices--such as the water protectors of Standing Rock who strive to protect our precious land, sky and water--ahead of my feelings.


I wish you all a happy holiday season, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May it be a better year than we hope, or at least may it be one in which we all re-discover our humanity and humility and truly live out the Golden Rule, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Think: One day you may need your neighbors' help. How can you rely on them in your darkest hour if they can't rely on you during this season of light?

--Cindy/Celine Chatillon 




Here's the first project I'm supporting for the water protectors at Standing Rock in lieu of sending Christmas cards this year. I've always wanted to build a straw bale home, so I'm glad to support Honor the Earth as they build a community hall for the Oceti Sakowin encampments. Check it out, and if you feel motivated, donate a little something toward their goal of $75K (they're about halfway there). They will be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner there in a few days. https://honorearth.nationbuilder.com/makagioti

P.S. On a lighter note, my original holiday short story A Very Vampire Christmas will come out December 13 from eXtasy Books. Check out the very cool cover artwork by Angela Waters:


  






Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Costuming--It's Not Just for Halloween Anymore



Costuming--It's Not Just For Halloween Anymore

It's October, and I know a lot of folks are getting their Halloween costumes together either for themselves (to attend a masquerade) or for their little ones to go trick-or-treating, but did you know there are many folks who consider costuming their hobby, even their calling?


 Some call it "cosplay." (I think of that as acting out a particular anime or fictional character.)  But many others think of themselves as simply "costumers" who enjoy creating their own unique characters and bringing them to life.


One of the best places to witness the wonders of costuming is at a science fiction convention such as Archon, but not all the characters you'll see there come to life are necessarily sci-fi or fantasy related. The one thread that holds all costumers together is their sense of wonder and sense of fun. I mean, what could be more fun than pretending to be a fantastical creature or zany character you've imagined and realized with your own talents at the sewing machine or table saw? 


Enjoy the photos and feel inspired. Have a safe and Happy Halloween, too.



From Star Trek to Doctor Who... It's always great to see the classics of science fiction at Archon!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Book Review: The Last Woman Standing

The Last Woman Standing Getting close to our Y.A. debut release of Olivia's Escape... But here's the scoop on the last "romantic fiction" I've read/reviewed.

The Last Woman Standing by Thelma Adams
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Young Josephine Marcus runs away from her stifling home life in 1880’s San Francisco to marry Johnny Behan, a charming older man who’s aiming to become the sheriff of Tombstone, Arizona. But once Josephine finds herself in the booming silver mining and cattle baron town she realizes Johnny wants her to act as a governess to his young son and keep his bed warm without benefit of matrimony. After she catches Johnny in bed with another woman, she admits to herself that she can no longer keep up the charade of caring for him and lying to her conservative Jewish family back home that he’s going to make an honest woman out of her one day. She walks out. But how can a disgraced woman make a living in a boom town which doesn’t involve selling her body?

Luckily for Josephine, the handsome sharpshooter Wyatt Earp has taken a shine to her since the day she stepped off the stage coach. A competitor for the same position as Johnny, Wyatt and his brothers have all been discriminated against by the ex-Confederates in the territory. They don’t care for the Earp brothers’ Lincoln Republican leanings and want to exploit Tombstone any way they see fit. As Wyatt’s kept woman, Josephine experiences the aftermath of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and the false testimony of the traitorous Johnny Behan, which places the Earp brothers in jail and endangers their lives by vigilante action.

The Last Woman Standing is primarily a historical novel with a little added romance. The in-depth details of life in 1880s Arizona and the larger-than-life characters who dwelled in the infamous town will appeal to readers of Westerns and women’s historical fiction alike, if they can handle the slow pacing and large information dumps given at the expense of the actual story.

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Coming soon from Desert Breeze Publishing... Olivia's Escape, Book one of the BloodDark series. Read more about the series at http://blooddarkbooks.blogspot.com
 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Book Review -- The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls WilderThe Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A book of letters? Why would I want to read someone's mail? Hey, it's much more fascinating and revealing that you'd first believe. As a big Laura Ingalls Wilder fan (since childhood), I was enthralled to learn details of her life "behind the fiction" and how her daughter, journalist Rose Wilder Lane, was perhaps the undisclosed ghostwriter of her classic children's literature. Recommended for all Laura fans and others who are interested in seeing the process behind a writer's goal of creating a book series to preserve American history.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Book Review: Boy Erased (A Memoir)

Boy Erased: A MemoirBoy Erased: A Memoir by Garrard Conley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A life spent questioning one’s self-worth, one’s faith, one’s sanity is not a life worth living. In the coming out memoir, Boy Erased, Garrard Conley boldly shares his inner and outer struggles of dealing with his homosexuality, his fundamentalist upbringing in Arkansas, and his parents’ expectations of him becoming the perfect son.

Young Garrard realizes that he’s different from other boys-- he likes to look at men in a different way than others--but his family’s strict Missionary Baptist religion prohibits such sinful thoughts, let alone actions. To make matters worse, his father begins a second career as a preacher, and to openly confess his gay nature would destroy his family’s good name in the church. Going off to college to study English literature, Garrard is haunted by his feelings and finds himself in a difficult situation when he is raped by another student who then turns around and tells on him to his family. The rapist claims it is all Garrard’s fault, and so as a victim he is further persecuted and questioned.

Garrard’s parents fear for his immortal soul and enroll him into an “ex-gay” program, Love In Action, a place that is anything but loving. There he is subjected to amateur brainwashing techniques in the guise of a twelve step addiction program. If he will only take the first step and admit he is wrong and admit he is “addicted to being gay”, then he will be “cured” according to LIA. But Garrard eventually sees through the doublespeak and self-loathing his ex-gay instructors try to instill in their clients. He realizes somewhere deep down that God would not have made him gay to lead him into self-destruction and despair. He knows his parents love him and will come to accept him, and so he walks out.

Boy Erased is a poignant story that will touch many who struggle with being “different” and who question their existence in the face of prejudice and ignorance.

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