Author Archives: Limecello

Team ALBTALBS TBR Challenge Review: The VIP Doubles Down by Nancy Herkness

The VIP Doubles Down (Wager of Hearts Book 3) by Nancy Herkness
Contemporary romance released by Montlake Romance on April 18, 2017

In the witty, sizzling finale to award-winning author Nancy Herkness’s Wager of Hearts series, a haunted writer conquers his demons with the help of a feisty muse and a passion that doesn’t play by the book.

Gavin Miller, the billionaire author of a bestselling thriller series, struggles with a grim secret: he hasn’t written a word in more than a year.

Writer’s block is killing his spirit and jeopardizing his contracts with his publisher and his Hollywood producers. Prodded by his agent, Gavin reluctantly agrees to see Allie Nichols, a sassy physical therapist tasked with treating the novelist’s severe neck and shoulder pain—and maybe his writer’s block, too.

The tempestuous Gavin and no-nonsense Allie soon find themselves entangled in a steamy affair that sparks Gavin’s creativity again. But their manipulative ex-lovers and Gavin’s lingering childhood scars threaten their happily ever after. Can Gavin and Allie find their way to love when the stakes are high and the obstacles are overwhelming?

I love it when a book lives up to my expectations. I’ve read all the other Wager of Heart stories: The CEO Buys InThe All-Star Antes Up, and the novella which I believe technically takes places after all three books in the series world timeline, The Irishman’s Christmas Gamble. I read The VIP Doubles Down in a day, and I can see myself re-reading all the books in this series.

Allie Nichols is a terrific heroine. She’s incredibly kind and caring, and has a strong sense of self. She’ll put others first, but she’ll only take it so far. Allie understands protecting herself, and self care. I loved seeing that in a heroine. While she’s struggling, I felt she also had agency, which I appreciated. Things aren’t all going her way right now, but you know she’ll make it – with or without the hero, Gavin. (This is entirely frivolous, but I have to add this personal note. I think I read a slew of redheaded heroines, so many in fact that I automatically avoided or put down any books with a redheaded heroine. Well, Allie is a redhead, and it speaks to the quality of writing here that I read on.) Anyway, Allie is down to earth, reasonable, and fun. She’s also nice. It’s mentioned a few times she’s incredibly optimistic, and she is, but not in an annoying way. Allie is someone anyone would be lucky to have in their life, and I’d love to have a friend like her.

Gavin Miller. Now, what to say about him. Of course everyone would love to have a friend who is a billionaire. But he’s so much more than that. Gavin has always shown flashes of hidden depths in the other Wager of Hearts stories, but … seriously, he’s kind of an ass. He has a lot of reason to be one, but … he is. Gavin was so lucky to meet Allie – and thankfully, by the end, he realizes that. It isn’t an easy journey for him though. While Gavin has been insightful and brilliant, he’s walled off his emotions and pushes those he cares for away with his caustic wit. In a way, he thinks people expect that of him because he’s a brilliant and successful writer … but also to protect himself. It doesn’t help that he’s got a massive case of writer’s block, a crushing sense of responsibility, along with a lot of personal tragedy, and it’s made him terribly surly, and borderline mean.

I think it says something about Gavin though, that despite him being a jerk, he’s got good people willing to stick with him, despite his best efforts to push them away, with cutting, and sometimes hurtful remarks. To his credit, he does always apologize. Gavin is definitely dynamic and layered. It’s what makes him a great character, and great hero. Then, there’s the fact that he grovels and apologizes in what I felt to be an appropriate and proportionate manner in the end. And that’s big. I know a lot of readers are willing to forgive a hero almost anything, but if he’s an ass the whole time with no redeeming characteristics, to me, he’s not a good hero. The hero suffering or grovel is rarely enough for me. I wanted to make that note because Gavin does not fall into that category. In this case, it was good. Gavin has his bad moments, but he mans up and apologizes each time while also been caring and helpful, and the supportive friend when the time calls for it.

I enjoyed The VIP Doubles Down for a lot of reasons. It’s a realistic romance. The characters are well rounded, and developed individuals. I liked that you got a real sense of who they were, and the story organically relayed their lives, and them falling in love. The plot and events flow nicely, as does the romance and their relationship. It’s never perfect. Both are wary, and Allie definitely puts up a fight because of the possibly unethical implications. (She first meets him as his physical therapist. That relationship definitely ends prior to them getting involved physically or romantically though.)

Allie has had to learn a lot of difficult life lessons, but she’s still a positive person. She isn’t blindly or willfully naive though, thankfully. She brings light to Gavin’s life, and he adores her for who she is. He’s smart, and funny, and charming, and they just work so well together. The physical attraction is there, but the numerous conversations they have, the flashes into the hidden depths, the mystery and discovery of who not only the other person is, but who they themselves could be … It all came together in a really lovely way.

I’m a little sad to see this series end, although I also definitely appreciate a series ending when it should. As I said, I’ll be re-reading these books, and will be looking for more books by Nancy Herkness. If you like contemporary romances, I hope you’ll give this series a try.

Grade: B

You can read an excerpt here or buy a copy here.

When You’re a Mess, You Need Help

Hi friends! I don’t even know what to say. ALBTALBS is up for now, and to stay up, which is good, since ASO took “all my monies!” … Which … come 2019 I’m thinking I need to have a new hosting company already in sight.

Anyway, I know I’ve been really absent for say, the past few years, even. I’ve got a lot going on. We all do, I know. But this year, I’ve been really out of commission, and this is part of it.

Elise Rome decided to take it upon herself to set up a GFM for me – which kinda details a bit of what’s been going on. I had no part of it, but was and am totally verklempt with the love and support from romanceland. I’m definitely still in the weeds though, so if you could find it in your heart (and wallet) to give, I’d be beyond grateful. I’d also be incredibly grateful if you’d share the link – because maybe some kind, and wealthy stranger would feel compelled to help out as well. https://www.gofundme.com/limecello

Thank you all, and hopefully once some of this is sorted I can be a more present [and useful?] blogger! <3

Shout Out to Cynthia Sax and Cathy Pegau for “Saving” ALBTALBS + A Sale!

Hi friends! Oh my gosh have I got a lot to say – but I’m not really in a place to do it – literally and figuratively. I’m also typing this flat on my back so excuse any typos please.

For a number of years I’ve been dealing with [hacking?] issues. Oftentimes the site bandwidth would exceed my monthly allotment, and I was able to “boutique” buy an extra gig or two to tide me over. The policy changed (without word or notice >:( ) so I had to upgrade my hosting plan, instead of leaving ALBTALBS down for the rest of the month. (And ideally preventing it from happening over and over.)

So … upgrading costs money. Which I don’t have. [More on that later…] And I decided to offer advertising space again at a discount. I’m offering ad space for $10/month if you buy three or more months. If you want to buy a full year I’m willing to discuss an additional discount. Otherwise, each ad space is $15/month for now.

I run the ad as a widget, so people will still see it even if they have adblockers installed on their browsers. Each image can also be linked to anywhere on the web you want it to go.

Because of Cynthia Sax and Cathy Pegau, I was able to offset some of the costs of bringing ALBTALBS back online, and I am so pleased and grateful. They deserve this shout out, and for their ads to be highlighted. 🙂

SWHM Guest: Beverly Jenkins on Apache Warrior and Prophet Lozen

Hi friends! I’m beyond excited to welcome super star author Beverly Jenkins to ALBTALBS with a guest post for Smithsonian Women’s History Month (SWHM).

Lozen is my right hand … strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy. Lozen is a shield to her people.”

This quote, attributed to the great Apache War Leader Vicotorio describes his sister, Lozen, remembered by the Apache as a kick ass warrior and one of the most powerful medicine people in tribal history. She was born in the late 1840s into the Warm Springs band of the Chiricahua Apache who made their home in the mountains of what is now New Mexico. Some historians believe Lozen means, “Little Sister”, while others say Lozen is a war title given to a person who steals horses during a raid. Regardless of what her name means she is a legend. At a young age, she eschewed the traditional female lessons of basket making and child care to ride horses and learn to fight. She also vowed never to marry. As she grew older, she was as good with a knife as she was with a rifle. She was also a formidable horsewoman. During her coming of age spirit quest, Useen, the Apache Creator God gifted her with not only the power to heal wounds, but the ability to sense the enemy; a sixth sense that would prove invaluable in the Apache fight to remain a free people.

In 1861, Victorio led his people away from the San Carlos reservation and its horrible living and the Apache Wars began. The Chiricahua were among the last Native Americans to take up arms against the US government, and Victorio, with his sister Lozen at his side, eluded capture for years. At one point, the band reached the Rio Grande but the horses refused to enter the fast-moving waters. so Lozen plunged her horse in first, forced it to swim and the other mounts followed. She stole horses from the camps of Mexican soldiers, single-handedly led a group of women and children across the desert, and during the wars her abilities as both healer and shaman were called upon constantly.

During the summer of 1880, their band was fleeing an ambush by the US Army when a Mescalero woman went into labor. Lozen stayed behind to help with the birth while her brother and the others rode on. Vicotorio and seventy- eight braves were eventually captured and killed. The Apache believe had Lozen been with him to do her ritual sensing of the whereabouts of the soldiers he would have gone undetected. In the ritual, she would face the sky, raise her arms above her head, cup her hands and pray. She’d then move in a circle until she felt tingling in her hands and her palms turned purple. The strength of the tingling indicated both the direction and distance of the enemy. Many are convinced that had it not been for her successful predictions the US Army would have conquered the Apache years earlier.

After her brother’s death, Lozen rode with her uncle, the 90 – year old Chief Nana, and eventually the formidable and ghost like Geronimo. While with Geronimo, she added messenger and negotiator to her duties, and was often sent to broker peace and to barter for supplies with army representatives. When Geronimo finally surrendered on September 4, 1886, his band had been reduced to fifteen men, fourteen women, and six children – one of the women was Lozen. She and the others were shipped in cattle cars to Florida where they joined previously captured and removed Chiricahua, but conditions were so terrible and the public so outraged by them, the Apache were moved to Mount Vernon Barracks, Alabama. This warrior woman, who’d fearlessly spent her life fighting to preserve her people’s freedom died there of pneumonia, and was buried in an unmarked grave.

History may have forgotten Lozen, but the Apache, especially its women, have not.

Lozen is referenced in Ms. Jenkins’ novel Breathless. (Sorry, I couldn’t find an image of her that’s in the public domain.) 

BreathlessA strong-willed beauty finds herself in the arms of the handsome drifter from her past, in this second book in the sizzling series set in the Old West, from USA Today Bestselling Author Beverly Jenkins

As manager of one of the finest hotels in Arizona Territory, Portia Carmichael has respect and stability—qualities sorely missing from her harsh childhood. She refuses to jeopardize that by hitching herself to the wrong man. Suitors are plentiful, but none of them has ever looked quite as tempting as the family friend who just rode into town…and none has looked at her with such intensity and heat.

Duchess. That’s the nickname Kent Randolph gave Portia when she was a young girl. Now she’s a stunning, intelligent woman—and Kent has learned his share of hard lessons. After drifting through the West, he’s learned the value of a place to settle down, and in Portia’s arms he’s found that and more. But convincing her to trust him with her heart, not just her passion, will be the greatest challenge he’s known—and one he intends to win…

Have you read Breathless? Did you know about Lozen? Do you have a favorite female historical figure? We’d love to hear your thoughts! <3 [And remember to say “hi” to Beverly Jenkins!!! Eeee!!!] 

Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

Devil in SpringDevil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
Historical romance released by Avon on February 21, 2017

An eccentric wallflower  . . .

Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake  . . .

After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot  . . .

After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy—and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven . . .

​Oh. My. God. You guys. So, Devil in Winter is one of my most favorite Lisa Kleypas novels – and probably one of my favorite romances across the board. So. When I learned there was a novel about Sebastian and Evie’s son … well. The anticipation was great. I have to say, Devil in Spring lived up to the hype. I haven’t read many historical romances the past few years, but after reading this one, I think I need to get back on that horse. Definitely I need to catch up on books one and two of the Ravenels series. (Cold-Hearted Rake, and Marrying Winterborne). Reading Devil in Spring made me happy. I read it in a few hours. I picked up the book and read until I got too hungry, grudgingly ate breakfast, and then went back to reading until the end. I already know I’ll be re-reading it. In fact, I read this book in print which should tell you something, because I’m pretty sure that literally I last read a print book in 2013. (It’s also why I’m not quoting anything –  because I didn’t mark pages.)​

Lady Pandora Ravenel is a delight. Truly she’s so self-deprecating, bright, fun, and lovely. Her splendid wry sense of humor … she’s someone you want to be friends with. (I wouldn’t mind being her either, really…) I loved her indomitable spirit. A tragic incident in her past has dictated her entire life, but despite that she does her best not to let it control her. In fact, she’s been cheeky even since that event. (No spoilers!) I loved how she “gravely” informs Gabriel that she’s “barely house broken.” I loved that Pandora warns Gabriel she walks in circles, which she actually does … and then most importantly, that he finds it charming! Pandora is so much herself, but she also takes into account the wants of others. She’s caring even while fiercely independent.

Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent​ is such a good guy. (But then what else would you expect from someone who grew up with Evie as a mother? And of course we all knew that Sebastian would be a wonderful father, once Evie settled him down.) Gabriel had been certain he wanted the perfect society wife. Not to love, but to take her place at his side as the future duke and duchess. Gabriel has always been very aware of the responsibilities – both current and future. He’s blessed and knows that he’s been blessed in life. I didn’t love the (to my mind minor) “proclivity” of his – it felt a bit as if it was trend jumping in romance world, but hey, maybe. It also did fit the narrative, so that made it ultimately ok with me. ​He’s always been image and socially conscious, and has seen how his father’s past affected both his father and him. Nevertheless, Gabriel gets to know Pandora quickly, and is just so taken with her. He’s smitten, and loves her desperately. He loves her more than she loves him, and is okay with it. [And real world nod – that’s what Joe Biden says about him/his relationship with his wife Jill! <3]

​I have to say that I wasn’t sure on the marriage, initially. The meet cute, as it were, and both characters reluctance. Pandora’s reluctance carries through, but Gabriel becomes “pro-marriage” very quickly. Specifically, pro-marriage to Pandora. He’s captivated by Pandora, but the instant attraction/want/need on his part was a smidge too much for me. ​However, I did really appreciate Pandora’s resistance to the institution of marriage. She has extremely valid concerns, and Gabriel understands them. There are a few times where he wants to argue with her, but realizes he can’t because she makes extreme sound and logical points. Gabriel’s acknowledgment of that won him major points. He also works to reassure Pandora that he wants her to remain her own person – as much as he can. I also liked the host of social issues Ms. Kleypas incorporated into the story so skillfully. The setting and time period were very important.

Now, another reason I accepted Gabriel being taken so quickly is because he has ample reason to adore Pandora. Of course duty and responsibility is a big part of want to marry her – but it’s not the reason. I loved that both families gave them an out. No matter the scandal, neither family wants their loved one to suffer for the rest of his or her life. That both Gabriel and Pandora were given a choice was so important. Not only does Pandora’s cousin (and family) want the best for her, you get the sense that Sebastian and Evie would’ve put a stop to things if they felt Pandora would have been miserable. Of course their initial concern is for their son, but they also care about their future daughter-in-law. Not just for her as a potential addition to the family, but as a person in general.

The “courtship” is condensed into a weeklong visit, but it’s described in detail, and Gabriel and Pandora get to spend a lot of time together.​ I really appreciated that Gabriel and Pandora got to know each other a bit before agreeing to the marriage. I loved that Gabriel, who has never really had to work for the attention or affection of the opposite sex found himself in such a foreign situation, desperately trying to convince Pandora that she wants to marry him. Or at least should. He’s charming, sweet, and a little devious. After all, no son of Sebastian’s would be entirely good. (Or of Evie’s either, because she’s got quite the naughty streak too.)

​Speaking of Sebastian and Evie, I loved their scenes – that they open the book, but don’t dominate it. They’re the parents everyone wants … or the couple everyone wants to be. Gabriel also knows that he was lucky to have them. It was so nice to read a book populated by good characters. Ones who appreciate what they have, and thankful for it. Pandora also appreciates the love and support that she has now from her family.​ And that both characters have families that are so understanding they allow the lovebirds to have time alone, to get to know each other, and fall in love. And when Evie tells Pandora about the fox cubs. I’m pretty sure if you look carefully, you can still see where my heart was ripped out and bleeding on the floor.

​It isn’t ​all just romance and emotion spilling everywhere – there’s a lot of humor too. Pandora’s “facts” – her willingness to tease both Gabriel and herself. (Her noting she can’t marry Gabriel because people will think she’s shallow.) All of Gabriel’s antics to capture Pandora’s attention. I loved that her mind never stopped and was everywhere all at once. I can relate perfectly. Gabriel also doesn’t get angry or arrogantly demand her focus – he appreciates the challenge that is his new wife. And more than meets it.

Ms. Kleypas does a masterful job at writing dynamic, nuanced characters that are strong, but not overbearing. They stand for themselves, but don’t bulldoze others. Nor do they have to. They’re human, and caring, emotional, loving, argumentative, difficult, and perfect as characters. ​​There were scenes that almost made me cry, but in the span of a few pages, I was snort laughing. Ms. Kleypas runs you through the gamut of emotions in Devil in Spring. I’m not a “huggy” person, but when I finished the book I considered hugging it. Because it was just so wonderful. Expectations met. Mischief managed. ​I can’t wait for the next story … but in the mean time, I’m definitely re-reading Devil in Spring and catching up on the Ravenels series.

Grade: A

You can read an excerpt here or buy a copy here (the mass market paperback is currently only $4.98!) or the kindle copy here.

TBR Challenge Review: Egomaniac by Vi Keeland

EgomaniacEgomaniac by Vi Keeland
Contemporary romance released by Vi Keeland on January 14, 2017

The night I met Drew Jagger, he’d just broken into my new Park Avenue office.
I dialed 9-1-1 before proceeding to attack him with my fancy new Krav Maga skills.
He quickly restrained me, then chuckled, finding my attempted assault amusing.

Of course, my intruder had to be arrogant.
Only, turned out, he wasn’t an intruder at all.

Drew was the rightful occupant of my new office. He’d been on vacation while his posh space was renovated.
Which was how a scammer got away with leasing me office space that wasn’t really available for rent.
I was swindled out of ten grand.

The next day, after hours at the police station, Drew took pity on me and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. In exchange for answering his phones while his secretary was out, he’d let me stay until I found a new place.
I probably should have acted grateful and kept my mouth shut when I overheard the advice he was spewing to his clients. But I couldn’t help giving him a piece of my mind.
I never expected my body to react every time we argued. Especially when that was all we seemed to be able to do.

The two of us were complete opposites. Drew was a bitter, angry, gorgeous-as-all-hell, destroyer of relationships. And my job was to help people save their marriages.
The only thing the two of us had in common was the space we were sharing.
And an attraction that was getting harder to deny by the day.

I first read Vi Keeland last year, when I got a notification that her book The Baller (which I quite enjoyed) was out – and since then I’ve had an eye on her releases. While the premise of this book had me giving it slight side eye, I was willing to go there with Ms. Keeland. I’m glad I did. It’s a story of “opposites” attract, which isn’t normally my thing, but it really worked here. The divorce lawyer and the marriage counselor. An introduction where each thinks the other is an intruder. It’s really cute.

Emerie Rose (what a romance heroine name!) is a great heroine. She’s just so nice. She’s someone you want to be friends with. Emerie is as I said, a marriage counselor. She’s from Oklahoma, but moved to New York to follow the guy she’s been half in love with for three years. I know, I know, cliche, right? But it didn’t annoy me here. He was her TA too. (Gah!) And yet Ms. Keeland wrote it in a way that makes it work and didn’t get my back up.  Pretty impressive if you ask me. Thankfully, Emerie meets Drew instead. (The TA-now Professor wasn’t worth it.) She’s well-rounded, and dynamic – she’s uncertain, a little spastic and neurotic, but grown up and does the right thing even when it’s hard. If nothing else, I thought she was a bit too nice. I understand why Drew acted as he did, but I wish that Emerie had made him sweat it out just a tiny bit more. (Or more than a tiny bit. … But then I’m mean.)

Drew Jagger is a good man. He’s got a heart of gold, but it’s buried under some tarnish, and locked down tight. His ex-wife did him dirty. Really dirty – when he was really young, so I get the bitterness. He got burned so badly he isn’t interested in any relationship anymore. It doesn’t help that he’s a divorce lawyer, often seeing the absolute worst of imploding marriages. However, that’s when it comes to relationships. For other things, he’s quite nice. He’s gorgeous – of course (classic romance hero requirement) – but he’s kind. He’s had the same best friend since sixth grade. He’s loyal and constant – just a bit gun-shy. He also was extremely generous upon meeting Emerie when he didn’t have to be, and it was so fun seeing how they clicked. Drew is a bit crass, but that’s all surface. I liked that he’s got some rough edges and contradictions to his character.

Emerie starts out a bit of a mess and adorable. Professionally, she’s set. However, she starts out in New York [City] with a lot going on. Drew helps her out – who wouldn’t when it’s a damsel in distress flailing (especially since Drew notes she’s got a great ass and rack)? Not to say Emerie doesn’t pull her own – she runs her own practice and helps Drew, keeping his office running smoothly and rearranging his schedule skillfully – and Drew needs it more than your average bear. (In fact, Drew is the one who has a lot going on through the book. Way more than Emerie, who becomes the constant steady presence.) Emerie even mentions it at one point – that when one has more going on than the other, they can lean on the other person. They’ve established a relationship and are making it work.

I don’t want to give away the plot points – I hate “book report” reviews that just offer a summary of what happens – but I found everything realistic, and quite believable. It made sense, and was one life event after the other – just as things always are. Drew and Emerie are just meant to be together. I had a lot of fun seeing the two of them develop an emotional connection. There’s a lot of humor, fun, sexy times, and healthy respect between them. It was nice to read about two characters who have a strong sense of self falling in love. I can see myself re-reading this book, and I’ll definitely look for more by Ms. Keeland. In fact, I’m hoping the best friend gets his own happy ever after too.

Grade: B-

You can buy a copy here.

SNAHM: Yasmine Galenorn

Hi friends – I’m … still here. It’s been … a year, huh. Lots going on. Lots. Let’s just move right along. I have to say straight up, this post is a year late, and it’s on me. It is entirely, absolutely, 100% on me. My apologies. My apologies to you, my apologies to Ms. Galenorn. I messed up. I did want to share her post though – but also note – it was written almost a year ago, it should have gone up at that time. I will say, I definitely think it’s still relevant. (In fact, maybe it was meant to be – to be posted now considering…)

So without further ado … Yasmine Galenorn

I want to thank Limecello for asking me to write a blog post on diversity/being a writer of mixed background. The world of media’s been filled with a lot of controversy this year—well, every year, I guess, but this year I’ve noticed it more.

And I’ve been thinking about the concept of diversity in books, movies, etc., a lot because this relates to me directly—as both an author, and as someone who has a mixed heritage background. Maybe I don’t look it…my Irish side seems to comes out a lot stronger than my Cherokee in my looks…but yes, I am mixed blood and honestly, it has never played a big part in how I think about myself. Probably because of that very fact—nobody bothers me about it because hey, I look white, to be blunt. No, I get attacked in other ways.

It hit my mother though, right where it hurts most, with family. With her husband’s family (my stepfather). And I knew it hurt her because when she was alive, she talked to me about it. I’d like to say he stuck up for her, that he put a stop to his mother treating my mother like a second-class citizen, but I can’t, because he, himself, was a racist though he would never have accepted that fact. But honestly, when you marry someone who is part Native American and then refer to NAs as “warhoops” and Hispanics as “wetbacks”…I’m sorry, you’re racist. When you won’t let your wife drink any alcohol because she’s part Native American, you’re racist. And so on.

Anyway, I had a long, long post written with all sorts of examples and I deleted most of it and decided to rewrite…just a blunt post.

I’ve seen so much ugliness in the past few years on the net. I’ve been called a whore/slut because my female characters are unapologetically sexual and lead alternative lifestyles. I’ve been trash-talked as a writer because of my looks—because I’m fat and unapologetic about the way I choose to dress, about the fact that I have a wonderful marriage, and that I’m successful and not ashamed of myself. Apparently, size has something to do with how well the words come out of my brain, according to a subset of trolls. I’ve seen friends get death and rape threats due to speaking out about the nature of being a female who writes science fiction and fantasy.

Enough. Just. Enough.

I no longer care about making my valid arguments and refuting the idiots because: Diversity? Whether it be in gender, color, size, sexuality, it’s not going away, people. The “good old days with family values” only existed for a minor subset of society. Women were struggling for equality. People of color were struggling for equality. L/G/B/T people were struggling for equality. The only ones who weren’t struggling with some form of discrimination were white men.

So here’s the thing: yes, you have less power when you share that power around. You have less power over others. That doesn’t mean you don’t have the power to shape your life into awesome…

What does it mean? This:

  • It means you can’t beat your wife.
  • You can’t rape your date.
  • You can’t terrorize the neighbors because they’re black.
  • You can’t pass over someone for a job simply because he’s Cherokee.
  • You can’t spit on a woman entering the military because you think she can’t handle the training.
  • You can’t deny Jim and George the right to marry.
  • You can’t pass over Linda for a promotion just because she’s fat and you would rather promote the size 4 blond so you can ogle her boobs.
  • You can’t force the local pagans to attend your church or to stop practicing their religion.

IOW: You can’t deny others basic rights simply because you don’t like them, you don’t agree with their religion, or you think they won’t serve you or that they are less than you. And, to be blunt, if you have a problem with this, I suggest you reexamine your ethics because…sorry, you’re wrong.

Anyway…I’ve seen too much online over the years to make me truly ever trust anybody I don’t know personally. Because those anonymous trolls and flame baiters? They aren’t bots. They are real people. Maybe the neighbor next door. Maybe the person you pass on the street. And they’ll smile to your face, and turn around and harass and hound and attack in private when they think nobody’s watching. When they believe they can get away with it. They’re cowards, but they’re dangerous cowards because sometimes, they take their hatred into the streets with guns. Or they beat up their girlfriends. Or they bully a little black girl just because they can.

So ya know…Enough.

Take a deep breath and decide—what do you want people to remember you for when you’re gone? Do you want to make the world a better place? Start by speaking out when you hear someone making a racist joke. Don’t sit by while the guys in the locker room talk about date-rape. Just stop adding fuel to the fire or enabling it by remaining silent.

Maybe I’m preaching to the choir…but if the choir doesn’t keep singing, all of this crap will slide back into acceptability. And it will just go on. And on. We can change things…one person at a time. One family at a time. But it starts with us. With the person in the mirror.

Yasmine