A March Into History

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, I went to Washington, DC, to participate in the Women’s March on Washington. In the days that followed, people asked me how it went. So, let me tell you.imag4421

A friend and I managed to snag tickets on one of two buses organized/sponsored by Henrietta Hudson, a lesbian bar that’s been in Manhattan for decades (originally known as The Cubby Hole, for those of you who remember the Madonna/Sandra Bernhardt affair). My day began at 5 a.m., which may sound early to some of you but I know people who got up as early as 3 a.m. to make their way to group buses. And I met people who had been driving from various other states since the day before. Imagine that. This was such an important, momentous occasion that  people drove for up to two days just to be there.imag4419

Anyway, I left my house at 5:30, drove to my friend’s neighborhood in Brooklyn, where I parked my car, and together we took the hour-long train ride into the city. Henrietta’s graciously had bagels and coffee and other breakfast items on offer before the long ride to DC. I’ve never been a big Dunkin’ Donuts coffee fan, but at 7 a.m., after what had already been a bit of a journey, it couldn’t have been more delicious.hh_classic

We hit the road promptly at 8 and arrived in D.C. around noon, which actually was too late to get a spot at the rally. We made our way to a gathering point across from the White House, where we waited for the march to begin. The weather was better than could be expected for DC in January—it was cloudy and foggy but except for a few drops, it never rained, and it was not freezing. Finally, after what seemed forever, a chant began rolling down the masses: March towards the Mall!

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Don’t Judge!

Have you ever looked at someone and made some judgments about them? What I mean is, based on their clothing, haircuts, and other visual cues, did you decide that they listen to a certain type of music? Or prefer a particular cuisine? Or read certain books?

I’m sure sometimes you’re right. But I’m sure sometimes you’d be surprised.


Motley Crue

For example, to look at me now, you’d probably never guess that I was a metal head in high school. Yup, it was Def Leppard, Motely Crue, Judas Priest, and Scorpion for me. But here’s the thing: I also listened to the Bee Gees, ABBA, Duran Duran, Billy Idol, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Neil Diamond, the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Buddy Holly, The Clash, The Everly Brothers, Ella Fitzgerald, Eric Clapton, Cher, etc., etc. And later on, I listened to Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, and Green Day, while also listening to Snap, Black Box, and Alanis Morissette. Continue reading

The Other Side of Rudolph

For much of my adult life, I had a problem with the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I’ve always watched the Rankin/Bass animated Rudolph specials with glee, and sang along to the song whenever I heard it during the Christmas season. I still do. But underneath the child-like joy I felt, there was always a niggling displeasure with it that I couldn’t pin down. A couple of years ago, I finally figured out what it was.rudolph

So, here’s the story in a nutshell:

Rudolph is born with a deformity—a shiny red nose that glows. Because of the deformity, the other reindeer laugh at him, call him names, bar him from the reindeer games, and essentially ostracize him. Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa Claus realizes that Rudolph’s nose will cut through the bad weather and asks him to guide his sleigh team. Rudolph agrees, saves Christmas, becomes a hero, and suddenly everyone wants to be his friend and he’s invited to all the reindeer games.rudolph-3


Here’s my problem. As someone who was bullied as a kid, it kind of sticks in my craw that as soon as the other reindeer figure out that Rudolph’s deformity works to their advantage, they want him in their world. They couldn’t just accept him for what and who he was; he had to be of some use to them in order to be accepted. The bullied child in me wants to see an alternate noir version of Rudolph’s story in which he tells Jolly Old Saint Nick to fuck off and the reindeer to stick their antlers up their asses sideways.

Oh, sure, you need me now? Well, see that steaming brown pile over there? You can eat that first, and then maybe—just maybe—I’ll fucking save Christmas for you, you elitist, judgmental, ass-sniffing assholes.

But I think it took my realizing this for me to realize something else: this is where teachable moments come in. Rudolph wasn’t just accepting the friendship of those who had spurned him, he was showing them that even those who are different have something to offer society. Those who don’t fall into the accepted “norms” are useful and worthy, and they, too, can be heroes. Think Forrest Gump.rudolph-4

Now, Rudolph could have really held a grudge. He had every right to turn his back on Santa, the reindeer, and Christmas. After all, he’d been completely disenfranchised from that whole scene. I mean, shit like that could’ve driven Rudolph to drink. But he didn’t, and it didn’t.

In Rudolph’s story, the bullies did learn. And that’s the best possible outcome that can be hoped for. It’s unfortunate that not every story ends this way, and not likely to when the president of one of the most powerful countries in the world is allowed to mock people who are not like him (physically abled, white, rich, sporting a penis, etc.). But we don’t know which situations will turn for the better if we don’t try.

So, Rudolph’s message is: Don’t hold a grudge. Don’t stay angry. When people who have hurt you want to make it right, let them. It will be one less pain that you will carry.

I wish for nothing but peace and justice this holiday season. I hope you all have a happy, healthy, and safe one. And may 2017 be better.

Peace on Earth.


The Road Ahead

I am not a political person. I don’t get involved in political groups or activities. I just barely know the basics of the American political landscape. Politics bore me.

This presidential election was different. The outcome of this campaign was so fundamental to the very survival of so many Americans, that even the most uninterested person had to pay attention.

I was interested.

And when it was all over, I was devastated. I watched as the results started coming in and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I kept asking, “How is this happening?”

What that really meant was, how could so many people in this country vote for a sexist, racist, homophobic, tax-evading, hatemongering, vulgar, inappropriate, inexperienced, spoiled brat who sexually assaulted women and bragged about it?

I just can’t wrap my brain around that.

Regardless of how you feel about Hillary Clinton, by electing Trump, we’ve basically told the entire world that you can say and do anything you want and behave any way you want and you can still be president.healing-takes-courage-and-we-all-have-courage-even-if-we-have-to-dig-a-little-to-find-it-tori-amos

The implications of that are horrifying to think about.

I don’t want to go into a whole analysis of what just happened—there’s a lot of that already going on. I just wanted to express my grief, my anger, my shock and dismay, my fear, and the sense of oppression that I haven’t felt since my teen years.

We’re about to embark on a very dangerous road. There are many dark corners up ahead, and many bad people lurking in them, ready to jump out and hurt you.

Be careful out there, my friends. Check the dark corners, and look out for each other. We need to stick together more than ever.


Halloween is my favorite season, and paranormal is my favorite genre to write. I wrote here last week that I’ve been told that paranormal doesn’t sell in the lesfic universe, and that really bummed me out.

But I decided that even if I write other genres, I can’t give up my paranormal. Like a ghostly voice, it calls to me, and I must answer. And I realized that a good chunk of my body of work is paranormal. If you’re looking for something to read this weekend, while you’re setting up the bowls of candy and waiting for the little ones (and some not-so-little ones) to ring your bell, maybe you’d like to give some of my stuff a try. Each one is a little different, so maybe you’ll find something that suits your tastes.

Twice Bitten

Have a Bite

“Strega” in Tales of the Grimoire

“Love Bites” in When the Clock Strikes Thirteen

Happy reading and…


The Scenic Route

After a long, busy summer, I finally have been able to catch up on a little leisure TV watching. I finally got to watch Orange Is the New Black and Luke Cage, and today I started watching the 5th season of American Horror Story, Hotel. Yeah, it’s been that long since I’ve been able to just sit and watch anything. american-horror-story-hotel-title

So, I’m watching AHS, and the character played by Sarah Paulson, Sally, is a junkie. In one scene, she’s sitting at the bar with Detective John Lowe sort of explaining her addiction. She said it was “like how you imagine heaven, pure light” and that she kept trying to climb higher. To get closer to that light. Then she compares that feeling to “an endless ladder where all you do is get further and further away.”

That’s kind of how I’ve been feeling lately. Like I’m on a ladder trying to find something. Not necessarily ecstasy or a light of some sort, or even enlightenment. Just…something. And the more I climb, the higher the top seems. Is that what it’s like for people climbing really high mountains, like Mt. Everest or the Himalayas? After a while, it must get really exhausting and scary, doesn’t it?ahshotel-hplg

The example I usually use is that I feel like a gerbil on a wheel—I just keep running and running and I don’t get anywhere.

But there are people who say that the destination is not the important thing—it’s the journey. And I fully agree with that. There’s no point on going on a road trip if you don’t stop at a few road stands to sample the local tomatoes, or take the scenic route once in a while to take in the splendor of the countryside, or shoreline, or winding mountain roads.


But no one has only one destination in life, right? There are many trips we take in our lifetimes. Not all of them will be of the same caliber. Some will be fun, some won’t. Some will be of our own choosing, some will be out of necessity. Whatever the destinations of those trips, the journey will be the part that holds the most memories.

So, whatever your destination, enjoy the view and stop for a taste of the tomatoes. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll consult Guy Fieri’s list of stops from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives to find just the right spot for that plate of fish and chips or bowl of chili.

Happy driving.



All About the Paranormal

October! I get really excited when I flip the calendar from September to October. There’s just so much to love about this autumn month.

Have a Bite

Have a Bite

First, well, it’s autumn. Who doesn’t love autumn? I’ve heard people say they hate winter or summer, but I’ve never heard anyone say they hate autumn.

I love all thing Halloween-y: ghosts, witches, vampires, pumpkins, leaves…

And I guess it’s no surprise—especially if you follow my writing at all—that paranormal is my favorite genre. And so I was saddened to be told by more than one publisher that paranormal doesn’t sell. It really mystifies me because there’s so much of it out there—from movies to TV shows to books. Yet, in lesfic, paranormal is toward the bottom of the chain.

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