If we don’t change, maybe we don’t deserve to be here

I’ve been waiting breathlessly for the return of Babylon 5, a science fiction classic I got into belatedly. I even co-opted one of its characters, Lyta Alexander, when I was in an online RPG 20 years ago. Sure enough, it came on Amazon Prime finally, and I’ve started watching it. I hit a wall, though, watching the seventh episode in the first season, called “The War Prayer.”

The 1994 show, for those who don’t know, tells the story of a space station constructed after an interplanetary war in the year 2250, built to allow humans and aliens to interact in a hope of achieving peace.

This particular episode deals with a group on Earth called the Homeguard. These folks oppose dealing with aliens at all. Their chant and watchwords are “Earth First.” They terrorize aliens in an effort to scare them away and keep the station and Earth’s resources for humans only.

The station commander and security advisor discuss the situation, wondering what will happen if they release information about this “Earth First” group. Commander Sinclair bitterly points out that most who know about it are already fervent supporters, “and most of the rest just don’t give a damn.”

So, 24 years ago, we see the exact theme playing out that we see in today’s “Murrika.” Except here it’s a little more sinister. The leader of the country and those who support him in the government are pushing “America First,” not just random extremist groups.  We are terrorizing members of American cultural sub-groups, instead of Centauri, Narn and other aliens. Blacks, LGBTQ, immigrants–anyone who is not part of that specific WASP male culture risks being made second-class, losing their rights, or even being terrorized and killed at rallies or on the street.

Women are losing rights over their own bodies, due to recommendations made by committees of white men. Is it any wonder that The Handmaids’ Tale is so dark and frightening for us to watch? How long until we reach that point? In the show, the women’s rights slowly disappeared, one by one. The right to a job. The right to handle their own money. The right to read and write. The right to choose to have a baby. The right not to be raped. We see in the current government that while major brouhahas are going on in one place, calling the attention of the media and activists, that in Washington, Congress is quietly whittling away at other laws–many of which the majority don’t even read.

Not to mention the amendments and special interest-bits that get tagged on.

Clearly, this whole “Me and the people like me First” campaign is not new. It didn’t start with the current administration. it didn’t start with the last administration. It didn’t start back when the Republicans came right out with the policy of opposition, no matter what was on the table. (George Voinovich, 2002).  “The Other” is always something to be confronted; but should it be met with hatred and fear, or with a welcoming hand?

The hatred and fear continued in the Babylon 5 episode, as once the bad guys were caught and charged with the terrorist acts, the leader turns to his former friend on the station, and says this:

Malcolm Biggs: I can’t believe you did this to me, Susan. What kind of a human are you to side with – [looks at (aliens) Delenn and Mayan] *them* ?

Lt. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova: I find many of these people to be more human than you and your kind. But I don’t suppose you’d understand that.

“I can’t believe you did this to me.”

“I can’t believe you made me do this.”

“Look what your parents made me do.”

The New Yorker on June 11, 2018, points out that the Trump Administration uses the language of domestic violence. It sure does. As someone who’s worked with domestic violence victims and survivors for over 20 years,  what I read in the news makes me sick.  And it doesn’t look like it will end any time soon.

The sickness isn’t just one man. It’s pervasive in the system.

Maybe–just maybe–there are enough people willing to put themselves on the line to change things in fall 2018, in spring 2020. But we’ve been wallowing for a long time, living with all those who “just don’t give a damn.” When good people don’t engage, whoever’s loudest gets to control things, truth and justice be damned.

So I’ll go back to my nice fictional space station, where I expect this won’t be the last time we hear the Earth-Firsters. Because this is us. And we deserve what we get.

Can I get your help?

For many years, this blog told stories of our adventures with autism, something that was completely new for me when my children were diagnosed, all three of them. We did the therapies, we made the concessions, we shared the stories and learned from all of yours.

During that time, I wrote a manuscript that starred a teenager with autism. She becomes part of a young adult fantasy tale, a quest to save the universes from dying. I based her on vignettes from my own children, the odd way her language comes sometimes, the black and white thinking that makes things like idioms a challenge–or unintentionally humorous.

After some attempts to get it published, I shelved it, thinking maybe the world wasn’t ready for this. But with the success of THE GOOD DOCTOR, and some other indications that autism awareness is becoming more mainstream, I tried again.

I am proud to announce that THE LOST CHORD is being published by Dragonfly Publishing this spring. Not only is there a great story told, but the other teens in the story learn about autism, and the value of Bee’s thinking outside the box. Here’s an excerpt:

Miss Fry appeared puzzled. “Yes, Bee just came to get that. She said she couldn’t take the whole project, but she needed that rock.” She shrugged. “It’s hard to tell with her sometimes. But she’s come a long way.”

            “I—I don’t know a lot about autism, Miss Fry. Is she gonna be okay sometime? I mean, will she get better? You know, be like everyone else?”

            “Will she ever be like you, or me? Probably not. There’s an ongoing debate among the Powers that Be and parents about ‘curing’ those with autism by various means, but it seems to me that would be doing those individuals a disservice.”

            “You mean they want to be—broken?”

            “They aren’t broken, Cory. They have many unique characteristics and gifts that might be changed forever if they were made to be ‘like everyone else.’ But certainly we can help them communicate better, succeed in their own way. Like this.”

            She tapped the poster board with a smile. “As an independent student, Bee can accomplish a small focused project with excellence, whereas in a class of thirty students, she gets lost and can’t be heard.”

I’m very excited at the chance to teach people about the wonders of our kids. One thing that would help would be reviews by people with knowledge of the subject. I can get you review e-copies in advance of our May launch, if you’re willing to read and share your opinion of the book. If you like it, I’d be glad to guest post on your blog as well, to spread the word.

You can also like our Facebook page and register at our blog to get more information as we get closer. Endorsements would be great to add to our page as well! Fans of the book will be invited to join a special club called the Chordians, where they will get special prizes and more content.

If you can help me out, and are interested in any of these options, please contact me at lyndialexander at gmail dot com, or leave a message in the comments on this post. I hope you’ll join me in the next step of this grand adventure!

Sciencing the sh#t out of things….

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Eclipse at near maximum in San Jose, CA–photo credit John Wright Canon 7d thru eclipse glasses as filter, from the Fujitsu Planetarium DeAnza College.

After so many months of hype, we all finally got to experience the two minutes more talked about than the Kentucky Derby–the solar eclipse.

Little Miss and I began on the NASA broadcast from C-SPAN, watching as totality moved through Oregon and Idaho, Nebraska and Missouri, and finally went out when it began to darken outside here in Asheville.

But it was clouds!

Definitely dismayed, we moved around the yard until we could almost see it through our glasses. As clouds tend to do, however, these moved on, and we caught the first third disappearing. It was easy to understand how the ancients, not having the benefit of years of scientific study, felt like the sun was being devoured and might never come back.

Sitting back in a lawn chair, taking in the moment, I experienced so many sensations as the event transpired. The grass was freshly mowed, and it smelled wonderful. We charged my large rose quartz crystal. The quality of the light itself changed, taking on characteristics of bright moonlight, a grayish-blue tint to the scene around us. The temperature dropped, and it definitely darkened. (We were in the 99%, not 100% so we only saw the corona on television.  😦   )

But at the same time, even as that small fingernail crescent slid from the left, to the top, to the right, knowing 99 percent of the sun was blocked– it was still fairly light. It was warm, maybe 70 degrees. Even with that tiniest fraction of the sun. How powerful it must be.

What would happen if the sun really did disappear? Jonathan O’Callaghan has the answer for you here. Let’s not rush for that one.

Overall, it was an exciting experience, and just as exciting to know we were sharing the wonder with literally millions of others across our broad country. Finally something we could all share that didn’t come with a red or blue, black or white, male or female distinction.

Better yet, science predicted it, and we all believed.labkylie5

So if science can be right about this, can’t we give scientists back their funding? Can we support some of their other theories, like global warming and conservation and preservation?  To paraphrase Mark Watney–Let’s science the sh%t out of this world!

 

Summer trip, Part Two

DSCN0611I’ll start with the view from our campsite at Curry Hammock State Park which was interesting in a number of ways, including how close we were to the beach, although pursuing the wildlife was much more fun. The park is “green”, so the restroom/shower facilities were all specially designed to fit with the local ecosystem.

The wildlife that popped up all around our campsite included some fabulous green iguanas like this guy:

igianaThe area, though is known for its blue crabs, which had hideyholes in the ground all over the place, several around the campsite itself. My daughter had the chance for prolonged conversation with some in the mornings, since she is an early riser, but I didn’t get to see so many.

Out time in the Keys sadly came to an end, and we headed north, where M and kids rented a car to head home, while we stayed in Satellite Beach with a friend of mine from the old newspaper days. It was two days full of fun, great food and success!new adventures.

Linda’s friend Rob was so generous with his time–one afternoon, he took the girls to his neighbors’ dock. Here’s the result–they each caught one!

success strikes againAnd yes, Mr. Redfish was delicious.

While we were there, we also had the chance to visit Kennedy Space Center. Yurie was excited to go there because of the rocketships and the history. Little Miss just went for one reason:

DSCN0637Yes. Angry Birds in Space. A whole building devoted to it, with a maze, and games, and the opportunity to sling birds at pictures of pigs. What says space travel more than that?

She actually did pay attention to several of the other exhibits (though she was still pretty obsessed with the Birds), as she demonstrated in later conversation. We took a bus ride out to see some of the outbuildings (including the one where Rob works!) and then came back to sit through a mock-up of a moon landing, which was cool (especially for those of us old enough to have watched it on live tv) .

DSCN0630

DSCN0632It was great reconnecting with Linda. We’ve both gone on to interesting lives, she as a counselor/teacher and me as an attorney/writer. But to take just a moment to relive those escapades as young writers–driving out onto the flight line at the air force base, checking out the drug hangouts in Florida City and nearly getting nabbed by the DEA–was awesome.

Then a sad day as we drove to Miami for Yurie to catch her plane home to Japan. We all survived the logistics of getting her to the airport during rush hour in Miami in a giant RV, AND of getting her multiple suitcases to the baggage carrier successfully (and the fact that the Miami Heat apparently won some sports event and we could have been marooned in city traffic for days, but we didn’t know it at the time). Goodbyes were tough. We’ll miss you, kid.  😦

The next leg of the trip was to Fort Pierce to visit another old friend of mine. We were both a little worse for wear for the years that had passed, and both dealing with chronic pain. But it didn’t stop my friend from being a delightful hostess, and we had a wonderful couple of days. Here she is with her friend going to a Mad Hatter party:

DSCN0642She looked great, and I’m so glad we stopped to see her. She lives in a beautiful condo overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and invited me to come stay with her on a more permanent basis. Have to admit, I’m keeping that in the back of my mind. There are worse choices.

Little Miss was more delighted with the two miniature dogs living there:

DSCN0644They were cute, but definitely fonder of her than of me or other visitors.

Finally, north to Asheville, to complete our travels, to visit with K and her lovely partner L. We always have a good time with them, and they work so hard at creating a life together with L’s son, even though the state of North Carolina is much less than helpful in its acceptance of gay rights. We took the chance to do nothing a lot of the time, preparing for the long drive home, and took advantage of the KOA’s nice facilities, pool, park, etc. to just let go.

DSCN0654poolAnd of course we visited L’s new job–Asheville’s Ultimate Ice Cream shop. With unique flavors like goat cheese and bing cherry, chocolate and ginger, and even caramel with blue cheese (to DIE for…), it was an amazing tastefest. That was before we got the maple and bacon ice cream.

Yes, I said bacon.

It was unbelievable. Please put it on your bucket list. Right now. I’ll wait while you get a pen.

Hard to believe all this fit into 16 days, but it had to come to an end eventually. What didn’t come to an end, of course, was the pile of work waiting for me when I got back. But then that’s what the real world is about. Time to start dreaming of next year’s vacation!

 

 

Oh, poor blog…long time no see. So busy, so productive–then what do these dreams mean?

I’ve been meaning to visit here. I swear I have. It’s been weeks and weeks. But not because I had nothing going on. Not because I have no thoughts at all. To the contrary, I’ve been busting out of my seams in most aspects of my life.

I’ve had two novels already published this year, with CONVICTION OF THE HEART debuting in June, SECOND CHANCES coming in July and LOVE ME, KISS ME, KILL ME and THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE both in September. Plus I’m writing away on two novels already contracted for next year, and waiting on the results of three more I’ve submitted.

The publishing, of course, is the easy part–now comes the marketing and social media. Fortunately, I’ve hooked up with a number of other authors and we’re jointly navigating these waters. Many hands make not light work, but a wider reach, certainly, so I’m hoping that these books find their audience.  For those who are curious, you can find the urban fantasy/sci-fi and horror books under Lyndi Alexander–see http://lyndialexander.wordpress.com for the most recent excerpts and updates. The romantic suspense, romance and women’s fiction will be under the name Alana Lorens, and you can find all the news for those, including a two month blog tour blitz this summer at http://alanalorens.com.

In addition to this, of course has been the law job, and the ongoing adventure that is our special needs roller coaster. Dr. Doo-Be-Do was diagnosed on the spectrum this spring, after a string of inexplicable bad behaviors and plummeting grades and social interventions at school, so he’ll be attending a special summer camp this year. The Captain continues in therapeutic foster care, unwilling to engage with the counselor or with us to even begin to work on the issues that got him placed and have to be remedied before we’re willing to have him return.

Little Miss is a bright star in our sky, academically improving bit by bit, enjoying the music and culture of her proper age group, fixing her hair like the other girls and setting her behavior based on what she observes in others. So there, doctor who said she’d never get any better than institutional level! She’ll be traveling with me this summer on a booksigning tour and research trip to Montana to learn about the Montana  Vortex and visit the big woods.

(that’s her on the right, performing with her peers in the May choral concert–they sang Lean on Me, one of her favs from Glee. She was so excited!)

But I keep dreaming about driving in the car and suddenly finding myself in the back seat or the passenger seat, the car heading out of control. Last night it was even a dream with my new grandbaby in the front seat, not even buckled in, and me trying to use the clutch from the back seat.  Sounds like I’m feeling like things are not under my direct command–that I’m not “in the driver’s seat.” Or maybe that’s just my interpretation.

Any dream analysis folk out there have two cents they’d like to pitch in??

And I promise I’ll try to visit here more often again.

Want to win a free book?

Not one of mine this time, although I will be having contests later this spring to win some of my books as more of them become available–three more contracts signed in the first two weeks of the year!!

Instead, check out dark fantasy  THIS BRILLIANT DARKNESS by my sister author Red Tash:

Win a copy of it by checking out her interview here:  Good luck!

Ring out the old, in the new–the important part is in the ringing!

It’s always a toss-up at the end of the year: look back on the year that’s passed, or set that aside and concentrate on the year ahead. Or both. I think that’s the kind of year it’s been for me.

Personally, the year has been a hard one, as we’ve struggled with the issues of our special-needs kids, some of them improving, others not so much. The stress has taken a toll on the marriage, as so often happens. We’ve both retreated into virtual worlds, finding life we can control there. I suppose it says something that we’re still hanging together. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We’ll find out, I guess.

We’re getting older and falling apart a little more–but that’s the way of things. Resolutions for next year include to find a therapeutic pool exercise class handy, since the Lyrica didn’t work out. Fibromyalgia is such a frustrating condition. You need to get good sleep to bolster pain management, but the pain prevents good sleep. They recommend exercise, even when you feel like you couldn’t stand to move an inch through your aching muscles. Best practice for me so far is to take something for pain and just soldier through. Hopefully it’ll be better next year.

 Professionally, though, what a raft full of blessings! I scored a part-time job with the county as an attorney for families working through Children’s Services, that came with benefits and a regular paycheck. This opened up my time formerly spent chasing new clients to spend writing.

 I haven’t wasted that time, either. In 2011, I signed contracts for five new novels to come out in 2012 and 2013. This is what my new email signature looks like now:

 Also writing as Lyndi Alexander:
The Elf Queen, 2010 The Elf Child, 2011 and The Elf Mage, 2012, all from Dragonfly Publishing
http://clanelvesofthebitterroot.com
Triad, coming from Dragonfly Publishing in 2012

Also writing as Alana Lorens:
Secrets in the Sand, a novel of romantic suspense—The Wild Rose Press, April 20,2011

 http://alanalorens.com

Conviction of the Heart, coming from The Wild Rose Press in 2012

 Second Chances, due out from Zumaya Publications in 2012

 Post-apocalyptic YA Series The Color of Fear: Plague, The Color of Fear: Journeys and The Color of Fear: Survivors debuts in 2013 from Zumaya Publications

 It took nearly forty years, but I’ve finally become a novelist. Best of all, that last YA series is the book(s) of my heart, the one I’ve sunk my soul into. To find a home for it has been the pinnacle of the year for me. I can’t wait to work with editor Liz Burton and Zumaya and get that into print.

But not today. Today I’m tending to my neglected blogs, which have taken second seat to all my novels and galley proofing the last two months. I’m grateful to have had a plethora of guests on particularly the Clan Elves blog and my romance blog to help keep my readers entertained. I want to set a schedule for the new year to tend to each of them at least weekly. With four books coming out in 2012, I need to make sure people can find them!

Next week I’m spending reviewing Margie Lawson class notes and several other writing books I’ve purchased over the last six months and stalled off reading. I’ve got a lot of writing to do in the next year, and I want to make sure it’s the best it can be. I’m sure you all will let me know if it’s not!

In the meantime, I wish you all a satisfying 2012, in whatever flavor and definition that means to you. Our family will be celebrating a new arrival in the spring–one that’s not between two book covers!– so we have much to look forward to, as well as travel, family and hopefully some sun here and there. May you have many blessings come to you and find that the dream of your heart comes true.