Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Manifesto of an Aging Southern White Woman

Like most of you, I was horrified at the events in Charleston this past Wednesday evening. I was stunned by the reaction of the community and in a different way by politicos who used the violence as impetus to push their political agendas.

I am no gun advocate.  A personal tragedy in our family when I was in college forever cemented my rejection of guns.  My 18 year old cousin was getting married the next day.  Like all soon to be brides she rushed around the house, packing, thinking of a thousand details, and likely worrying what might go wrong at the wedding or reception.  Her older brother decided it was a good time to clean his gun.  During the process, he test fired what he thought was an empty chamber. He shot and killed his sister where she stood. I come from generations of people in law enforcement and the military, but I don't have guns and I won't.

To both sides of the debate on gun control, I say, forget it, fellas...that ship sailed a long time ago. We're a country with a long-standing historical gun culture. (I'm from Texas, for heaven's sake. We carried cap pistols in my high school drill team when we wore our cowgirl outfits and fired them during our routines.) It is unrealistic to think we could ever enact a law to make people give up their guns. Should we attempt to pass such a law, we'd have the second coming of the American revolution.

No, I don't think guns should be allowed at schools. Teen-agers are known for notoriously lacking impulse control. But our legislative entities will waste valuable time, energy, and our tax dollars arguing about an issue they will never resolve. Be realistic with your goals and move onward.

I am upset both sides mentioned gun legislation in response to the massacre in Charleston. Their cynical belief it is time to exploit the pain of the American citizens to push their candidates' agendas infuriated me. This is not the time for such shenanigans. It takes the focus off the tragedy where it should be.

We've seen a lot of young men, particularly, like the shooter over the years.  Angry, disenfranchised, usually anti-social and uneducated, they embrace white supremacy and blame the government and African-Americans for their own pain, anger, and lack of success in the world. I suppose to take responsibility for one's own failure is unthinkable.  It's much easier to look to people who are different and point fingers.  "It's THEIR fault, not mine..."

In all the photographs of the killer I've seen on television and the internet,I noticed one thing about him. His eyes completely lack expression. His soul is dead inside him. I have no idea what made him the way he is, but he has no compassion or empathy, no apparent shame over the murders. There's no question in my mind whatever made him a monster, he truly is one.  To sit and talk with the people for an hour without developing any rapport, any awareness of their humanity, and then stand up and pick them off is the work of a monster, nothing more and nothing less.

We've been introduced to several such monsters in my lifetime, Charles Manson, Timothy McVeigh, and now Dylann Roof, to mention a few. I would include Adolf Hitler in this list and some of his cohorts, but they died before even I was born...

Finally, I was stunned by the reaction of the victims' families at the bond hearing and on the talk shows this morning. They forgave the killer of the ones they loved.

I don't know if I would have the goodness and grace to forgive the killer of a member of my family.  But I am impressed with the depth of the families' faith and forgiveness. To me, this should be the starting point of any discussion about going forward from this point.

If we are to survive as a nation, we must celebrate our differences not wage war against each other. We must work together to listen to people around us.  If they are in trouble, we need to try to help them, not ignore them when they spout hatred, saying "I don't judge people." It's time for all of us to help each other, not turn away as if we do not see.

I remember other words, which the forgiveness of the Charleston victims families, brought to mind.

Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.

And on an after note, this morning CBS Sunday Morning ran a clip from a film shot by one of their producers.  He went to Sing Sing prison and interviewed prisoners convicted of murder or other gun crimes and asked them what they would say to their twelve-year-old selves. The clip shown was very powerful. If you're interested the film is up on their website.

Such a film might help prevent other young people from turning the way of the Charleston killer. It's time to deal with the problem.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Trusting Will

Skye Taylor, author of the popular Camerons of Tide's Way series has released the third novel about the wonderful family.  Trusting Will tells the story of Brianna Reagan, a young widow of an Army Ranger, who is left with a young son, Sam.

A friend of Zoe Cameron, the heroine of the first book in the series, Falling for Zoe, Brianna remembers the town of Tide's Way with fondness and decides to move there to be close to her longtime friend.  She tries to make a normal life for young Sam and allows him to join the Cub Scouts.  She meets his scout leader, handsome Will Cameron, the brother of Zoe's husband.

Brianna is determined not to risk her heart or Sam's again after the death of her husband.  She wants nothing to do with love. Will is just as determined to get to know her much better. After moving into the vacant apartment upstairs from Brianna and Sam, Will begins getting to know the boy and his mother better.

This is the lovely story of a wounded widow and her orphaned son learning to love once again and the kind, sensitive man who loves them both.

Trusting Will is a wonderful tale of healing and love, for Brianna, Sam, and Will. Ms. Taylor has captured the emotions of the main characters and portrayed them with love and understanding. Rounded out with fully fleshed secondary characters it is a satisfying read that you will remember long after you finish the book.

Don't miss this five star novel.

It's perfect read for a day at the beach, by the pool, or at home.

You'll love the characters and become enchanted with the town of Tide's Way.

If this is your first visit there, I guarantee it won't be your last.

Links for purchase:

To find out about the author's other books and stories, check out her website:

Skye Taylor's website

Sunday, June 7, 2015

No Grits No Glory

I just finished a wonderful book last night by talented author Elaine Calloway.  It's a lively paranormal entitled
No Grits No Glory.

It's the story of cosmetologist Brianna McNeil who works in a funeral home in Savannah.  She is an Irish American from the Northeast.  To say she suffers some culture shock when she moves to Georgia's historic city is an understatement. Not only are the customs, society, and landscape alien to her, the previous tenants of her new home are still ghostly form. They are family members who were murdered in their house.

Most of us wouldn't notice them, but Brianna is special.  She not only sees dead people, she hears them, and can (and does) carry on conversations with them.  This trait is something she does not reveal since it caused her parents to have her hospitalized for an extended stay in a psychiatric facility when she was younger.

The ghostly inhabitants of her "rent to own" home are a father, a mother, and their sixteen-year-old daughter. None of them are shy about telling Brianna exactly what they think.  Virginia, the mother, is particularly abrasive, expressing her thoughts about that "Yankee girl" in her home loudly and often.  Also she has a habit distressing to Brianna of cooking big pots of grits on the stove.

Now that wouldn't bother me.  I'd love coming home to hot cheese grits anytime, but I'm from the south and appreciate haute cuisine.

When Steven, the estranged surviving son of the family who once owned Brianna's house, returns not knowing the fate of his family, he is devastated to find a stranger in their home. He is further devastated when he learns their fate. Brianna is drawn to help him.

Did I mention he's a gorgeous musician? Did I mention her sheltie, Plato, takes to him at first sight?

Naturally Virginia doesn't like their attraction at all.  The family harangues her whenever he is present, demanding she reveal their existence.  Brianna is understandably reluctant to cooperate, having learned to keep her abilities secret after a few months of torture in the psychiatric hospital.

Add to this a murderous villain with a scheme to become the largest real estate developer in the city, Brianna's deceased brother, Declan, who is forbidden by his mentor to approach his sister, the splendor of Savannah, a host of wonderful supporting characters...and you've got a great read.

It's sometimes riotous, sometimes nerve-tingling with danger, and very well written.

This one's a winner. It's Book #1 in the author's Southern Ghost Series.

Check it out!

Available from: