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The subject of the Confederate flag is one that’s full of controversy, and I don’t ordinarily expound on such topics, but there’s something I’ve always wondered: why does the battle flag of the losers of a war have such a hold on so many people?

What I’m going to say here won’t answer that question because I don’t know the answer.  I could speculate, but I won’t.  What I am going to do right now is to digress for a minute, just so I can tell you a little about myself.

I try to stay away from controversy because I’m not good at contending with it.  I tend to want to stay in my little niche, my own little corner of the world, and live my life as best I can.  I’m a “live and let live” kind of person.  My daughters sometimes accuse me of being a hermit, but I disagree with that particular assessment because I do, upon occasion, interact with other people.  I simply spend a lot of time by myself because of what I enjoy doing: my joy in life is writing.

I write because I can’t not do it so I guess you could say I am compelled to do it, and I’m black, so a lot of my characters are, also.  Having said that, I have to add that a lot of my characters are also white,  and some are other ethnicities.  After all, I live in a country made up of all sorts of folk so it would be kind of ridiculous to use only one brand of people in my writing. Then too, because I write fantasy and science fiction, some of my characters are silver, or some other color or shape altogether, because they’re not human.  Basically, my characters are whatever comes to my mind as I dream them up, and I’m an equal opportunity dreamer.

As I’ve said a few times to a few folk I know, “I ain’t deep.”  I’m not trying to influence anyone, or make them think, or change the world with what I write.  I leave that to the passionate people who feel that’s what they want to do, who feel that’s what they’re supposed to do, that have the temperament to get involved in that sort of thing.  All I try to do is tell a good story, and hope somebody reads it, and is thereby entertained.

Okay.  I said all of that to say this: as a black woman who was born in the late forties, and grew up during the fifties and sixties, who lived through “Jim Crow” – segregated schools, buses, bathrooms, drinking fountains, restaurants, etc, and witnessed my share of racism and discrimination, I must say that the Confederate flag should, at long last, be permanently retired.

I don’t mean that it should be hidden away and forgotten, never to be seen or discussed again.  No, that’s not what should happen.  I heard a guy on TV say, in protest to the people that want to remove it from flying over the capital in South Carolina, that it is a part of Southern heritage, a part that shouldn’t be denied.

Yes, it is a part of the heritage of the South, all right, even of the United States of America’s since the South is a part of this country, and I’m not one to think heritage should be denied at all, but I wonder if he’s stopped to think about exactly what that heritage is.  He spoke as if he thinks that flag deserves a place of honor, as if it represents some sacred act that the South performed, something wonderful in the history of our country.

Now, I’m not a historian, and I was born eight-two years after the end of the Civil War, so I only know the things I’ve heard about that era from stories told by the old folk in my family when I was a child, most of them second-hand from people whose parents or grandparents were slaves.  And of course, I learned things about that era in the history books at school (which tended to sort of whitewash it, so to speak, so I had to read between the lines and go reading on my own).  There was only one thing I learned that was really wonderful about the Civil War: the South didn’t win, which meant my parents weren’t born slaves and therefore, neither was I.

The man on the TV probably thinks the flag represents the fact that the South was fighting for state’s rights, and I suppose that technically, he’s right, but, the biggest right those states most wanted to retain was the one that allowed them to own other people.  They wanted to continue to do that, so they went to war.  I find nothing honorable about that.  The Confederate flag represents an era in the history of our country of which a big part was slavery and hate.  I’m sure he doesn’t think that’s what this flag is about, but it is.

Now, what a private citizen wants to do with the flag is his or her own business, but it should not be flying over public buildings – anywhere.  However, the flag shouldn’t be stuck somewhere and forgotten, either.

No, I think that the flag should be put in a museum, and displayed along with the manacles, the shackles, and the chains that represent some of the things the enslaved had to contend with.  The history of its place in the Civil War as a banner of encouragement for the folk who wanted to keep the manacles, shackles, and chains, should be written on a placard and placed in front of it so that it will show the exact heritage of that flag.

The image of it in all the history books should always contain the notation that it was the battle flag of the states that lost the war that they fought to retain people as slaves.

What this flag represents should never be forgotten.  Lest it be repeated.

Out today – Turner: World Change

Turner: World Change  (Book 2 of the Spaceships and Magic series)

Released today!   Available at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple

Bitter Change bc Travel with Juri and her guardian/warden, Prince Tetharia, as they go on a perilous journey to prevent the total annihilation of the world of the dragons.

A short excerpt…

… Suddenly I felt heavy and realized I was dropping toward the ground… I’d been hit with a spell…

I heard Pepi and her mother shrieking in terror but lucky for us, the spell had only affected me, and I had a mage on my back who, while horrified, didn’t panic, and was screaming out a counter spell.  I prayed the Revisher spell was close enough that Master Anthony’s would neutralize it – and I immediately felt lighter.  My voice returned and I yelled with relief as I leveled out, and with a pounding heart, climbed as fast as I could while trying not to leave a stream of pee behind.

 

Bad Weather – a drabble

Bad Weather

 

The funnel shaped cloud formed rapidly, as such clouds usually do.  It bore down on the isolated stretch of houses and when folk heard the warning siren they quickly ran to their cellars.

Everybody emerged once the all clear sounded and immediately headed for their vehicles.  Eyes were tearing up and people were retching.

Zeke cursed through bouts of vomiting as he staggered toward his truck.  He yelled to his wife and kids, “Git in! We gotta git outta here fast!”

“Whut’s that stench, Zeke?” moaned his gagging wife, clinging to an screaming, upchucking baby.

“It wuz a goddamned skunknado!”

END

Turner: Bitter Change Book 1 of the Spaceships and Magic scifantasy series

Enter a giveaway from 4-29 to 5-6-2015 at Goodreads – Two signed paperback copies available

Bitter Change15Enter to Win

An alien invasion.  A transforming child who is hated by all.  How are these two events connected?  Or are they?

Does Juri Turner hold the key to throwing off the yoke of the new masters of Earth?

A tale of bitter change. A tale of hate, love, and betrayal.  One of a coming of age, and of spaceships and magic…

 

 

(Book 2 Turner: World Change out 6/2/2015 in ebook – pre-order at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble.  See excerpt at Smashwords.)

BOUCHER’s WORLD Science Fiction Trilogy  Book 1 is permafree

Books 2 & 3 FREE with coupons until 4-27-2015  at Smashwords

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Book 1 – Boucher’s World: Emergent – permafree at Smashwords

A world imprisoned under a dome for two thousand years.  Have a pest company worker and her cat partner found the key to freedom?

 

Book 2 – Boucher’s World: Transformation – coupon UM74D

The only two options for Boucher’s World is change or die.  But, if they change, will they survive?

 

Book 3 – Boucher’s World: Encounter’s – coupon VT44C

Reestablishing relations with long lost kin can have unexpected consequences.

Release date for Turner: World Change is 6-2-2015! (Book 2 of the Spaceships and Magic series)

Available NOW for pre-order at Amazon Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Apple!

 

FREE sample available for download at Smashwords

Bitter Change bc

All the human-born dragon has to do is discover how to save one world from certain annihilation and ensure help for another.  After all, it’s the reason she was born and she’s been assured it’s her destiny, so it’s doable, right?

Born on Earth of human parents, because of an ancient magical enchantment, Juri Turner transforms into a dragon in order to help fight and defeat the Artesio, aliens who invaded and subjugated Earth two decades ago.  She does this by opening a door to another dimension and getting help from the magical dragons and humans who originally cast the spell.

Their world, Mur, is dying due to an error made eons ago, and in addition to saving Earth, Juri learns she was also born to save Mur.  She doesn’t have a choice as she will have to live on this world for the rest of her life.

She is trained for the task by the royal mages, the very people who caused her to be born to change into a dragon, an occurrence that has brought her a lot of trouble and pain during her short life.

She was told she’d know how to work the magic she learns from the mages, but, the thing is – she doesn’t, and complicating matters is the fact that soon after arriving in Mur, she discovers the war on Earth is not over after all, and if she is successful in saving Mur, she’ll have to secure more help and return to Earth.  In the meantime, she’s also being forced into an unwanted marriage to a dragon!

Will Juri be able to overcome the obstacles thrown in her way and do what it takes to prevent the destruction of the new world in which she will have to live?

Pray for Mur, pray for Earth, but especially pray for Juri, for without her, both worlds are doomed.

 

Subbing – a short Easter story

“No.  I cannot.”

“Oh com’on, Max!  You already have some of the right colors.  Why, that pink is perfect! And the blue – it’s the exact shade needed!  All you have to do is put this on–”

“No!”

I did not wish to be harsh with him, as he was a friend, but I still had bad memories from the last time I agreed to impart such aid.

“Do you recall what occurred when I assisted Nick when his leg was broken?” I asked.  “I would not care for a repeat of that, and this is a similar situation.”

Everyone had heard of the problem that arose during that event.  It had not been a pleasant  moment.

“Aww…the kids will be so disappointed!  If only my foot hadn’t got snagged in that thing.”  He shook his head, and sighed.

He sat down and stretched out his leg, observing his bandaged appendage.  It had been caught in a trap.  He sighed again, rather sadly, then peered at me.  His large, brown, watery eyes appeared to beseech me.

I beheld him.  He was truly a woebegone sight, and a sudden feeling of compassion arose within my chest.  I felt contrite.  I had known him for years, and he was an excellent friend.  My brain was telling me it was not a good idea, but, I reconsidered.  And so, with a sigh, I surrendered.

“I will do it, but I do not think the suit will fit.  It appears to be much too small.”

There was relief on his expressive face, and it lit up with elation.  He hobbled – with a little hop – over to hold the suit up to me.

“Hey, no worries, Max.  It’s adjustable.”

So I struggled into the suit and he handed me the items I would need to implement the job.  I felt foolish.

“I feel foolish,” I said.

“Oh, you look fine!” he said, waving me off down the walk.  “Don’t let anybody get a close look and you’ll be good.”

I studied the controls of the waiting vehicle and ensured that all the packages were properly affixed.  I sincerely hoped that matters would proceed much better while making deliveries for him, than they had when I substituted for Nick at Christmas, wherein I was discovered by the family at my final stop.  They had not appreciated an eight-foot tall, horned, blue demon in a red velvet suit, placing presents under their holiday tree.  They dialed 911 and I had nearly been exposed.  Had that occurred, I would have been dispatched back to Hell.

As I prepared to leave, Bun Rab called to me, “Don’t forget to hop!  It helps keep you unnoticed!”

I made sure the hoodie-type head covering with lop-ears attached, was straight; felt to confirm the cotton-tail was in place, cranked up the Easter cart, and set off down the Bunny Trail to begin the delivery of Easter baskets.

At least the color of the rabbit suit matched my pink eyebrows.    ###

Noise

 

I hear a noise and look around to pinpoint its location.  It appears to be coming from the corner by the window.  It’s the chirping of a cricket.

I go to check but it has moved along the wall.  I follow.  I stand still and listen.

Again, the sound has moved, now across the room to the opposite wall.

I am annoyed and determined to catch the cricket, so I continue to follow, flyswatter in hand.

Then, the sound comes from midair, in the center of the room.

Slowly, horrifyingly, it dawns on me.  The noise is in my head.

 

End

This drabble was inspired by a true story.  The names have been changed to protect the somewhat innocent.

 

Pedaling Hard

 

“What are you doing, Sophie?”

“Gotta get this done but they keep popping off every time I try!” She sounded quite aggravated.

“Hmm… lemme see,” mused Dan, studying the problem. “Oh, lines not long enough.  Well, I can help you out.”

He straddled a chair in front of her, stuck one foot out and commenced to pedal the treadle. “Hold on tight and lean forward!” he said loudly over the ensuing whooshing noise.

She nodded and pushed the suction cups down firmly while he pedaled.

The pump thumped, filling the bag, and together, they managed to get her properly milked.

END

Coming in late spring of 2015 – Book 2 of the Spaceships and Magic series

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