Two books for the price of {N}one!

What is Malmaxa?  That is a remarkably difficult question for me to answer.  Malmaxa is my vision of a perfect world, filled with imperfect people.  Malmaxa isn’t poetry, however a little free form poem I wrote captures a few of its essential elements.  The poem appears below.  Perhaps it is first proof of my claim that Malmaxa is like nothing you’ve ever read…

~ How would a just world be? ~
~
No rich, and no poor.
No government, and no governed.
No served, and no servants.
No clergy, and no lay.
No owner, and no slave.
No one able to force you to their way.
No one to prevent you having your say.
In two words, no disparity.
~
A just world might seem harsh.
Death would be an end, and a new start.
Cherished symbols, would be etched in flesh.
There would be war, with no victory.
Neither peon, nor royalty.
Wealth, yet no poverty.
Farmers, but no famished.
~
A just world is a world where
loving family are all around.
Where to be free, we must be bound.
Where children are safe to play.
Where people may move, or choose to stay.
Where cruelty exists, but is held at bay.
Where none are forced away.
Where character is held in high esteem.
Where we all must fulfill our dream.
Where while lineage means everything,
it means nothing too.
Where we must be who we are,
not who our parents were.
Where coins are bartered,
they are not spent.
Where prophetic dreams,
from the Gods are sent.
~

A “free” offer.

We all like to receive something for nothing, yet on that something we generally place little value.  After all isn’t something we get for nothing too often worth precisely what we paid for it?  Okay, stage set, here is my offer…

Two books, for the price of {N}one.  If you subscribe to Amazon Prime you can check out Beltamar’s War for free, that’s the “none”. Otherwise you have to buy, that’s the “one”.

But that’s only one book!  Why does my offer say two books?  I am quite proud of saying what I mean, and being mean in what I say. {Or is that “meaning what I say”?}  So yes, I do mean two books for the price of {N}one.  How do you get the second book? Simple, by wanting it.  Once you’ve read Beltamar’s War you’ll know if you want to continue reading the tale.  If you do, then all you need to do to get the second book in the series, is ask for it.

And how do you ask for it, you ask?  I’m glad you asked!  Post a review on either Amazon or GoodReads, reply to this thread, and tell me how to find your review.  While I ask you to be as honest as you’re able, I make no stipulations on how you rate the work. Replying here gives me your email address, I’ll check out your review, and I’ll send you a Kindle eBook version of Malmaxa II – The Pilgrimage as soon as it completes the editing phase.  Currently that should to be in August 2014.

Beltamar's War

Amazon Kindle

Beltamar's War

Paperback

And thus you’ll have two complete books for the price of {N}one!
This offer will expire, so act now.

As an additional incentive you’ll have the second book in the series in your hands for at least 30 days before it becomes accessible to the public.

Still not sold on a potentially zero cost item?  You’re a person after my own heart!  Don’t do anything at all until you decide Malmaxa is for you.  But how can you decide that?  Hop on over to the sample, right here on my blog, and start reading.  The browser you’re using right now is all you need.

However, before you start reading, be warned.  {You knew there had to be a catch, didn’t you? There isn’t.} Malmaxa is not what it seems.  It is complicated.  It is metaphoric.  It is foreign.  It is harsh. It is forgiving, and unforgiving.  It is unique.  Malmaxa is quite literally like nothing else you have ever read.

One of the things I can’t abide is the statement of opinions as facts.  But didn’t I just do that?  I said, “Malmaxa is quite literally like nothing else you have ever read.”  Yes, I stated that as a fact, and yes, I stand behind it.  Read Malmaxa, see the words between the lines, and compare it to any other work of any kind you’ve ever read – you’ll find differences both dramatic and subtle.

Thank you for your time. Should you take me up on this offer, I hope that not only does Malmaxa raise questions worth pondering, but that you also enjoy my literal world. ~ Charles

Posted in General, Poetry | Leave a comment

Black Elks Speaks

“History is written by the victors, not by the vanquished.”

Rarely do we have an opportunity to view history from the perspective of the vanquished.  “Black Elks Speaks”, by  John Neihardt, gives us another window through which we may look at the past.  Neihardt’s window shows us a completely different view of history.  A view in which honor and dignity belongs not to the victors, but to the vanquished.

“Black Elk Speaks” grants a Lakota medicine man named Black Elk a voice, and every reader an opportunity to revisit the past.  Be warned that this is not a pretty past, it is a troubled one, but one from which each of us can learn a great deal.

Black Elk has a powerful voice, and Neihardt’s work lets us hear it.  Listen carefully and you’ll hear the rustling of the winds, you’ll see the symbols he sees, and you’ll understand that deep down, Black Elk was simply a human – just like you or I.

Black Elk, was one of the vanquished.  As a youth, he survived the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876.  Fourteen years later, in 1890, he managed to escape death at the Wounded Knee Massacre.  Neihardt’s work is presented as a narration of Black Elk’s words, it includes but is not limited to these incidents.

I have long held that there are two sides to truth.  “Black Elk Speaks” is the other side of the truth Americans generally see.  Through Neihardt’s lens the glorious past does not look as glorious, it looks downright shameful.

What is “Black Elk Speaks”?

It is not some fanciful romanticized Cowboys and Indians tale of the sort on which I was raised.  It is another version of the truth, one in which an honorable, dignified, and ancient culture were systematically cheated, misled, murdered, and ultimately destroyed in the name of western progress.

It is a powerful revelation of how misuse and abuse of power inevitably results in tragedy.  It is a tale of rampant greed allowed to go entirely unchecked.  It is a tale of a government spurring its people on, allowing them to ride roughshod over those who get in the way of their vision of progress.  It is a tale of symbolism misunderstood.  It is a tale of tragedy.

Is “Black Elk Speaks” a fun read?  Absolutely not.  It disturbed me deeply to learn that, in regard to US History, I had never been told the whole truth.  Equally disturbing is the realization that came with this knowledge, that many of the supposed truths I had accepted were so badly biased toward one side that they amounted to outright lies.

Why read something that isn’t enjoyable?  Where do you derive enjoyment and satisfaction, from learning, or from being blissfully unaware?

If we can’t learn from the past, then we should hold no hope for the future.  Black Elk Speaks grants us a glimpse of a past in which many mistakes were made.  It really is a learning opportunity for the future.

“Black Elk Speaks” is not a “story” or a “tale”, it is another peoples’ truth.

My further thoughts.

Black Elk’s version of history differs substantially from my romantic childhood visions of the glorious Wild West, in which the Indians were the villains and the Cowboys the heroes.  My apologies to all Native Americans, please bear with me for a moment.  We have learnt a little of dignity in the last 40 years, we’re starting to understand that terms people find insulting should not be used.  But we still have a lot to learn.  We need to do more than not use derogatory cultural terms, we need to stop believing them.  A substantial part of that disbelief is readily available within “Black Elk Speaks”, which shows us the human side of those we are so willing to dehumanize with derogatory labels.  Once we realize that people are people are people, once we begin to understand that we are all the same on the inside, once we learn that we all have similar aspirations, once we are able to tear off the labels and look at the individuals…  Then we begin to realize that the world is a world of we, not a world of me.  Hopefully we also begin to realize that dignity is not granted by our discarding offensive labels such as “indian”, it is granted by the way we act towards the people we so labeled.

While we cannot make right the wrongs done in the past, we can learn the other side of truth.  Are knowledgeable people less likely to repeat past errors?  We can only hope they are.

My exposure to “Black Elk Speaks” distressed me sufficiently to prompt this tweet.

Western civilization
is a culture of conquer, and claim,
everywhere it rides is thunder and acid rain,
theft,
without conscience, or shame.

Who holds honor, the deceived, or the deceivers.

Where lies shame?  With those whose ancestors faced a ruthless foe and succumbed, or with those whose ancestors were ruthless and destroyed?

I think human nature encourages us to believe we are honorable, and that our heritage is honorable.  Sadly this is often not the case, {In my  case, my ancestors displaced the peoples of southern Africa.} yet when the evidence shows otherwise, we close our eyes.  We’re good at finding excuses and exemptions for our poor behavior, or for poor behavior exhibited by others that benefits us.

However when we’re faced with the very real suffering that such behavior inevitably causes, then we start to think that perhaps things are not quite as just as we held them up to be.  That is what I felt in “Black Elk Speaks”.  I believe Neihardt’s work is the very real memories of one man, as told to another.  This isn’t a fictional story, but a translated memory of the events that shaped a person.  Black Elk was actually there, physically present at some of the brutal massacres perpetrated by the US military.  Yes, the author acted as intermediary, yes there is the potential for translation errors, and yes, understanding the symbolism of a culture foreign to your own is very confusing.  However none of those factors matter to me.

Black Elk was a man, I am a man.  Black Elk wanted a life for his family, I want a life for mine.  Black Elk expected to be treated with dignity, as do I.  We’re all just humans, as humans have been for thousands of years, and as we’ll probably continue to be for thousands more.  Yet to this day distrust exists between the various sub-species of human. Our behavior toward those that differ from us is as repugnant as the behavior of those who virtually destroyed the Lakota sub-species. The lessons in Neihardt’s work are just as applicable today as they where during those tragic times, let us learn from them.

Black Elk uses symbolism to illustrate his vision of past and future. Unfortunately, as a westerner to whom his culture is no longer accessible, I feel that I miss a great deal of what the symbols he invokes represent.  However that does not in any way detract from the power of Neihardt’s work. Black Elk’s symbolism gives us a glimpse of a deep understanding between man and nature, so deep as to be unity.  Black Elk does not separate and hold himself aloof from nature. Perhaps in Black Elk’s mind the bonding force between man and nature is spirit.

In western European culture we take great pride in how our spirit remains indomitable beneath the elemental forces of nature.  In Black Elk’s culture, and within the symbols of it which Neihardt’s work presents, I sense an entirely different outlook.  In Black Elk’s vision of the world nature does not attempt to dominate man, thus there is therefore no need to man to be indomitable.  Only when man no longer hears Nature’s call is there reason to fear nature.  In Black Elk’s world nature encompasses man within its benevolent protection.  I see the escape of Black Elk’s people beneath cover of a blizzard as an example of nature’s protection.

Why do we westerners make the mistake of thinking we can dominate nature?  “Black Elk Speaks” brings home to me how the Lakota people never held this view.  I wonder how it is that our modern, technologically advanced society has forgotten things an ancient culture knows?

As I said, I’m of western European origin, which means some of the symbols Black Elk considers obvious are not obvious to me at all.  However, simply because we don’t understand symbolism does not make it any less symbolic.  Though the symbolism of a different culture is difficult to grasp, it is still worth making the effort to understand.  Cultural symbolism offers us insights into why people are the way they are.  Ultimately what we uncover, is that people are people no matter who they are.

“Black Elk Speaks” gives us a glimpse of an ancient culture that is no more, washed away by what we so self-righteously assume is the progress of the western world.  The western world is not the only viable model for successful society, think on that the next time you hear unsubstantiated headlines designed to make you do anything but think.

Black Elk Speaks brings home the cost of “the right of conquest”.  The vanquished lose everything, while the victors gain everlasting shame. Shame does not lessen with the passage of time, it waits, biding its time until something uncovers it and demands redress.

Additional reading material on some of the topics covered in this post are available below.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_G._Neihardt
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Elk_Speaks
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Little_Big_Horn
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wounded_Knee_Massacre

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Time

A friend recently asked me, indirectly, how I like to spend my time.  The actual question framed was this, “I must ask though, why don’t you enjoy being outdoors as much as you used to?”

Why don’t I enjoy being outdoors as much as I used to?

I love looking at beautiful things, provided I am in the company of people I like. There is something about beauty that demands it be shared.  Time fleets away, when we’re young we mistakenly think we have an unlimited supply of that most precious thing. With each passing year we realize more that our time is finite, and we refine how we are willing to use it. Work begins to take far more than a just share, exhaustion another, duty another, all these voracious consumers of time hungrily eat away at our days and nights. What is left over, is all we have left to spend. Since we have so little we must become discerning. My choice of purchase with my time, is for the personal. Feelings and words shared with those we care about are far more precious to me than the most beautiful sight in the world, perceived alone.

In my life I have seen many beautiful things, I’ve been to many amazing places, and I’ve seen more of the seven wonders of the world than many have, or ever will. How do my memories of those places and sights play?  They are all filled with the memories of those with whom I shared the sights, and those with whom I shared the sights feature more prominently within the memories than the beauty of the places themselves.

Yes, beauty does lie in the eye of the beholder, but beauty demands to be shared and if it cannot be, I think beauty is somewhat lessened.

Is beauty perceived alone as beautiful as beauty perceived together?

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Imaginary Friends

A poem by my favorite youngest daughter, Julia.

~ imaginary friends ~
~
It’s where the path ends,
And the trees start to bend
You will find me here
with my imaginary friends.
Deep in a wood.
the trees start to talk,
the flowers start to walk.
Only here will you find
behind the vines
the friends I gladly call mine.
~
I may be told to grow up.
To forget this silliness.
But,
In my life I have never met a human
as kind as a tree.
One that smiles brighter than a fairy.
Sings with more soul than a nymph.
never have I met a better trickster than a satyr.
~
If to grow up means to forget,
To leave behind
Then I will always have my
imaginary friends.
~

{I threatened to steal it and use it in my Fairy Tale, A Crystal Tear, should I ever finish it… I might still.}

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Tripwire

A poem by my niece, Bronwyn, who I am sorry to say I have never had the pleasure of meeting. Perhaps one day I will be so lucky.

~ Tripwire ~

I grasp for memories as they fall before me,
Like grains of sand too small to see.
Little things now forgotten,
Oh whatever could they be?

Steam blocks your face,
I cannot see
Whether or not you look at me.
I find it odd but say nothing more,
‘Cause you’re closed behind that door.

The maze I’ve built around my mind,
Guards me from clear thought.
With layers wrapped in meaning,
But too obscure to unbind.
Where do I reside in my mind?

Tears come too fast for my liking,
But I shed them with a smile.
They betray my weakness,
But also my pride.
Because I gave my tears a name.
They are called “humanity”

I’m not witty or clever,
Nor light as a feather.
I’m not gentle, nor meek,
More like a freak.
I view the world as a two-sided mirror
Not blind to the pain and horror.

I count my blessing
And mock those who don’t.
I accept those around me,
Whatever floats their boat.
I prefer the cold of reality
to the solidarity of the mind.
And whether friend or foe,
I treat you in kind.

Smiles that cut.
Words that bruise.
What has anyone got to lose?
“An eye for an eye.”
That’s what they say.
Will it save anyone at the end of the day?
Smashing glasses, breaking plates
Heated words and twisted fates.
Pains that run around in circles.
Lies that cease to have an end.
I can no longer see around that bend.

‘Tis no secret of mine, I swear,
That I wander without a care
Going left or going right
I wander on my hands at night
I close my eyes and see the world
Dancing feet that never twirled
Catching clouds inside my fist
Such thoughts I cannot resist
Bleached tears adorn my face
I cheer for those that lose the race
Crying second, laughing first
Nothing seems to quench my thirst
None too far do I see
For all the others ahead of me.
~

I hope you enjoy Bronwyn’s work as much as I do. While you’re here, look around, other poetic pieces are strewn among the chaff.

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The Mistress of the Maze

Ariadne, at the glorious age, of ten days…

The Mistress of the Maze

The Mistress of the Maze

Posted in General | 2 Comments

Fears

~ Fears ~

My greatest fear is injury,
not an injury to me,
but to others who I touch
in deed, or word, it matters not
nor whether the hurt is real,
or simply the unheard song,
of an unseen soul’s appeal,
every injury, is real…
even if it is only in a
dream.

The things that make me beam
the little things, of which I dream
the unseen sound of souls that sigh,
the clear essence of two souls that cry
tears that start their path as joy
wend their way through guilt
and by path’s end, are never shed.
True love lives on, it is never
dead.

No worry that we can’t walk back,
can’t turn about,
can’t find that track,
our footprints fade,
they must,
dark dreams crumble into dust,
face our fears, face the front
walk toward a future bright
walk together, in each others
light.

Wonderful memories, illicit,
delightful dreams, explicit,
our memories may never fade
though some cut deeper than any
blade.

The path we walk this way,
would that holding hands we may,
as friends fingertips do touch,
jogging the others memory to breathe,
that their hearts beneath such love
don’t crush,
where we are today…
is a far better place, than
yesterday.

Rather than dwell in errors past,
let us form a friendship,
that will
last.

Eternity awaits, my dear,
and yes, I will take you,
there.
~

I hope you enjoyed this poem. If you like lyrical literature, please try Beltamar’s War. I can promise you it is nothing like anything you’ve ever read, and I would really appreciate your support.

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Beltamar’s War. Re-Release!

If you’re book reviewer I’d like to hear from you. If you’re a book reviewer who enjoys complex, thought provoking works like The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien, or The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, I’d really love to hear from you!

Yes, we’re all busy so how will you know if my work, Malmaxa, is for you? Easy, simply read the sample available right here, right in your web browser, right now.

One of the nicest things about being an independent author is that we need never be content with our own words.
-versus-
One of the worst things about being an independent author is that it is very difficult to know when our own words no longer require refinement.

I self-published the first novel in my series, Malmaxa, in June of 2012. Though I have been fortunate enough to garner good reviews, I’ve personally never been happy with it. It just wasn’t the best I felt it could be. So, with that in mind, I scraped together the money to have the work professionally edited. I engaged the fine folk at Warneke Reading for this task and have spent the last couple of months implementing their excellent suggestions. Ed and Natalie went far beyond what I felt was due. I say, without reservation, that the work they have done for me far exceeds the worth of the money I paid them.

Naturally, during my implementation of their edits, I re-read Beltamar’s War. That was a mistake for two reasons.  One, I’m a man well past middle age, brought up to believe that men should not cry…  Two, I realized I am not happy with my own writing, and I doubt I ever will be. And thus the purpose of this post…

Very soon I’ll be re-submitting the latest version of “Malmaxa I – Beltamar’s War” to Amazon. I’d love to build up a head of steam by getting the work into the hands of reviewers before I do so. Are you a reviewer interested in reading Malmaxa before it becomes available in its newest incarnation?  If so DM your email address, along with your preference of Kindle .MOBI or .PDF, to me on Twitter.  You can find me as @CGAyling, and yes, I do follow back. If you’re not on Twitter, you can contact me by replying to this post.

But be warned, Malmaxa is not what it seems.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Birthday wishes, from an unknown soul.

A poem written by an unknown soul, for our precious daughter Julia, who turns 15 today.

~ For Julia ~
May Julia be happy and bright
From this morning to this night
Let her happiness last all year through
With all the things in her heart
That are meaningful and true

What a joy and pleasure
As there is nothing better
Than your little girls love
Which should always be treasured
Now
And forever

Wishing your little girl the best day and a very Happy Birthday!

+++

~ For Julia ~
And a poem from a man she knows,
her father, who loves her so.
Every word of this is true,
and so I cast them,
from me, to you.
~
Julia, who so seldom cries,
thoughts within her heart, she hides.
Shows the world her pretty, smiling face
and to her family, has never brought disgrace.
She can’t abide unnecessary silk, and lace,
embraces Buddha in her dreams,
and won’t fall for silly religious schemes.

Posted in Poetry | 1 Comment

Why do Independent Authors Need Honest Reviews?

Genuine people who are willing to take their time to write honest reviews are all too hard to find. Reviewing is a thankless task. Yes, the reviewer might get a free book, but for the amount of time they spend that can’t be considered compensation.

Sadly, honest reviewers seldom publish reviews on works they dislike. Why sadly? Because in the Amazon age we are inundated with 5 star reviews that almost invariably purport to love the works of whatever author they are supposedly reviewing. There should be balance in all things. To expect everyone to love your work is a pipe dream.  Yet this seems to be the case – especially in the so-called “reviews” posted about independent authors’ works.

Independent authors need honest reviews more than they need fabulous, yet fake ones. If we are lucky enough to get any reviews at all, we really need them to be honest. Why? For a number of reasons:

Because…

  • Honesty really is the best policy.
  • We learn more from adversity than from success.
  • We deserve a level playing field, and so do our readers.
  • If your readers actually like your writing, they’ll ignore bad reviews, or laugh at them, and who doesn’t need a good laugh?
  • People naturally root for the underdog, and bad reviews can make you the underdog.
  • Honest reviews help authors improve their skills.
  • They help readers find books they will probably enjoy, and save them from wasting their time on books they won’t.
  • Positive reviews point out our strengths, and encourage us to play toward them.
  • Negative reviews highlight our weaknesses, and show where we should strive for improvement.
  • If our writing is really as atrocious as genuine bad reviews indicate, then we probably shouldn’t be publishing. Either at all, or until we’ve substantially improved our writing.
  • Pats on the back don’t propel you forward, they hold you back. Especially when those pats are leading us to buy into the delusion we’re good at something when we really aren’t.
  • Potential readers often look at reviews before deciding whether to buy. If they read a glowing review, then buy the book only to discover it is a pile of garbage then every review they read later is tainted.

So you see, there really is no such thing as an honest review that is bad. Honest reviews either promote our work, or they help us improve it.

We independent authors already have a well-deserved reputation for producing writing that falls far short of anything published by a traditional publishing house. The more “great” reviews that promote sub-standard work, the worse this will be for all – writers and readers alike.

I take my hat off to real reviewers everywhere.  I’ve written a couple of reviews myself, and I know just how difficult it is to capture the essence of a work without spoiling it for the readers. In case you’re interested to read a couple of those I’ve written, here are two: Godspeed, by February Grace.  The Sowing, by Amira Makansi.

If you’d like to read reviews written about my work, well you might find the ones I particularly like here.

But the real bottom line?

Don’t waste your valuable time reading reviews at all.  Don’t let someone else tell you what you’ll like and what you won’t.  Instead of reading flagrantly positive reviews from questionable sources you should never trust, read the free sample every single reputable publishing system provides. Make up your own mind about the quality of the writing.  You’ll be giving the real underdogs, namely independent authors, a chance by doing so.  You’ll be glad you did when you uncover a gem in the midden {yes, you may have to wade through a lot of excrement, but that will make the gem that much more beautiful when you find it :)}.

And now, let me put my words where my mouth is… a sample of my first book is available right here, right now, right in your browser, completely free, with no download necessary, and no troublesome returns either.

By the way, if you’re a reviewer I’d love you to look at my work with as critical an eye as you wish.  I am nearing the end of implementing edits on Beltamar’s War right now and would love to send you a fresh off the editing block copy in the electronic medium of your choice, PDF or .MOBI {Indeed I’ve just taken hours of that editing time to post this.}  If I can tempt you to review me, please visit [Reviewers], where you’ll find information on how to contact me.

Further thoughts on authors like Ben Coulter

…and his ilk.  Those who compound the problem of blatantly biased reviews by going to extreme lengths in attempt to silence anyone who might give them a bad review, thus ensuring they never get bad reviews.  And when they do get bad reviews, they then go to extraordinary lengths to discredit such reviews.

What sort of extremes? Well, read about Coulter’s behavior here.

Posted in General | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Reviewers should be revered, not reviled.

{edit 02/23/14} If you’re an author, you’ve had bad reviews or unfavorable press. It happens. What should never happen is you opening your mouth and ramming both your feet down your throat by attempting to suppress them. That is the essence of this post. Sadly, it uses a real-life example to illustrate how smart people do not behave. Read it and learn, for from the comments posted after it I think you’ll see that the perpetrator hasn’t.{/edit}

A couple of days ago I witnessed some truly appalling behavior by an author named Ben Coulter toward a reviewer. Indeed I found it so reprehensible I could not allow it to pass with only a couple of tweets.  I placed my own work on hold in order to post about it, and considering how little time I have to write, compiling this post has been a significant sacrifice for me. I hope it is time well spent and that other independent authors might learn something from it.

Read on and make up your own mind. {When Ben Coulter’s nauseating behavior wearies you you might be interested to read why we all need honest reviews.}

The images of tweets that appear below give a chronological look at parts of the conversation. Yet, as with many things, the real truth is to be found between the lines. Or, in this case, between the tweets. My thoughts on the hidden truths appear between the screenshots. Now, get ready to find out just how unpleasant and malicious some people can be.

The start of it all.

The start of it all.

Notice Jade does not mention the name of the offender. That is considerate of her and shows obvious class. I re-tweeted her post shortly after 9am Feb 13 then replied to it with the tweet below.

My reply to @jade in the form of an observation about the sort of bully that makes such threats.

My reply to Jade in the form of an observation about the sort of bully that makes such threats.

I wonder if my words will prove prophetic… The entire day passes, until about ten hours later I when tweet again. Within 2 minutes BAM!

Out of the blue...

Out of the blue…

The tweet above appears in my interactions. I don’t recognize the name, but I do recognize the avatar. This Ben Coulter doesn’t follow me, and I don’t follow him. I wonder how he managed to notice me being online? I also wonder how he thinks I could have read the review “in question” since there is no link to it within anything I’ve mentioned or seen till his tweet.  Jade’s only plea was for support against a bully who threatened her, I gave her that support.
I offer Ben Coulter some impartial advise. Impartial because I don’t know him or Jade, but I do know wrong when I see it and Coulter’s threats toward Jade were and remain wrong.
The exchange below occurs.

I wonder if he is proud he managed to intimidate @jade into deleting her review.

I wonder if he is proud he managed to intimidate @jade into deleting her review.

Notice the time-stamp at the bottom of the image. Also notice the adjustment of the truth in what Coulter says his threat was. The devil is in the details, and I am detail oriented. I look back at the original tweet and sure enough, that isn’t precisely how he framed his threat toward Jade.
I ignore Coulter for a couple of minutes while I catch up on what has been happening on my friends timelines.
Bam! Another out of the blue tweet. But now he’s turned his attention, and his ire, to me and posts this in a thread all by itself.

Now he's decided to attack me?

Now he’s decided to attack me?

After a minute or so contemplation whether I should feed the trolls I reply.

BCoulter my 2nd replyHowever I notice my reply hasn’t taken the form of a reply. It turns out Coulter, like a complete coward, has already deleted his inflammatory comments toward me. Unfortunately for him I keep my interactions in a separate tab of my browser. To ensure it doesn’t seem like I’m the one originating the attack I capture images of all his tweets {thus the evidence within this thread} and post the image of his attack tweet, along with his further attack.

now he wants me to leave him alone? Strange, since he started this.

now he wants me to leave him alone? Strange, since he started this.

Immediately after, and indeed during this exchange Coulter deleted all of his tweets. However, this is the internet, and the evidence is everywhere. I took the time to report his abusive behavior to Twitter, but since I don’t hold much hope of their doing anything I decided to post the sordid little story here.

None of this should have happened.

Coulter should never have threatened Jade. Period. He should have kept his foul mouth shut and never tweeted at me.  If he’d just remained silent my RT would have scrolled away to be forgotten, and he’d have remained anonymous.  If he’d responded to my impartial advice and apologized to Jade it is quite possible he might have turned a huge negative into a positive.  He made a series of very bad choices. Him, not me. And this is the payment the piper demands.

I’m very sad to see Coulter’s nasty intimidation managed to drive Jade off Twitter, something which lent me further motivation for me to ensure the world can see this behavior for what it is.

Jade, I hope you come back.  As I encouraged you in a DM, I also hope you publish your full review of his work on Amazon as well as on your blog. Don’t pull your punches.  He certainly doesn’t pull his.

By the way, in a couple of days I’ll also be deleting my tweets that contain screen shots of this exchange.  Why?  Am I as cowardly as others who shall not remain nameless?  Possibly.  But my motivation is that the images which appear on my profile page are important to me and I don’t want trash taking space there.  After all, who likes to see a pristine beach littered with troll turd?  I know I don’t.

Addendum – Feb 16th, 2014.

Yesterday I posted this tweet

Reviewers should be revered, not reviled. http://bit.ly/CGApRsR #review

Note that it does not include Coulter’s twitter name. Several people re-tweeted it and a couple replied to the tweet.  None mentioned Ben Coulter’s twitter handle of @BCoulterAuthor. However, he proceeded to attack me, which I never saw since I have blocked him, and then to attack them. I only realized this when they began responding to his attacks and I noticed his twitter handle in their replies to him. I opened Coulter’s {IMHO he does not deserve to be addressed with any respect} timeline and watched in horror as he spent the next couple of hours tweeting some of the nastiest personal attacks I have been unfortunate enough to see on Twitter. Per his modus-operandi Coulter deletes as he goes, probably from fear he will be exposed as the nasty, small-minded, unpleasant, and cowardly troll he is. That doesn’t work. You see I use a web browser to access Twitter and I never refresh it, which means the trash stays there until I get sick of seeing it.

The images below reveal a small part of how cowards can be big, bad, and pretend to be brave when they think no one is ever going to know.  The tweets below were some of the mildest Coulter posted. As those he attacked refused to back down he became more and more obscene, and frankly, more deranged.

Additional abuse spewed in a public forum.

Additional abuse spewed in a public forum by one Ben Coulter.

spurious attacks on anyone who dares to question Ben Coulter

spurious attacks on anyone who dares question Ben Coulter

If you’d like to give Coulter the benefit of the doubt, and I encourage you to do so, here are the titles of the books Ben Coulter has published to date.
Poisoned Saints
Keep on Running
When The Saint Comes Marching Home: 3 (Poisoned Saints)

And if you’re in the mood for reading, here is a sample of my work. Please feel free to contrast and compare it to Coulter’s.

Addendum 2 – Let the lies begin (Feb 18th, 2014).

Not unexpectedly Coulter can’t let things simply fade away, unless he mistakes “fading away” for deleting his tweets, which he is prone to doing.  More interaction on my timeline today from one of the people he previously attacked made me open his timeline. {What can I say? Sometimes the urge to wallow of troll slime strikes the best of us.}  And what do I find?  Coulter’s usual Tweet and Delete behavior, along with an escalation into outright lies. Coulter begins slowly and escalates. As per previously, the devilish details are between the tweets.

Ben Coulter starts with little lies.

Ben Coulter starts with little lies.

Why would I want to get attention from Coulter’s readers? I don’t write in the same genre as him, therefore his readers are very unlikely to have any interest in my work.  But, like all good lies, it almost sounds plausible.  Let’s move on.

Ben Coulter moves from a subtle lie to a blatant one.

Ben Coulter moves from a subtle lie to a blatant one.

It didn’t take Coulter long to escalate from subtle mistruths to full-on frontal lies, 8 minutes by the time stamps. Coulter’s tweet is an outright lie. It is not open to miss-interpretation, it is a blatant lie. The only times I have ever addressed Coulter are shown as images in this blog post. To state that I, “the blogger and the reviewer woman had been attacking for a few days“, is an out and out lie.

Unlike our cowardly troll from hell, I don’t Tweet attacks and frantically delete them minutes after in order to hide behavior that is abhorrent and utterly reprehensible.

My timeline shows everything, and it really only makes sense if you read it that way. You see, most of my Tweets are in response to something else.  In fact, this blog post is in response to Author Ben Coulter attacking someone.

Yes, I occasionally delete my tweets. For two reasons, first to fix typos, and second to clear images off my Twitter profile page. I did that with two of the tweets on this blog post that had images in them that detract from my profile page.  But they are here, and here they will stay.

Why am I posting about this?

Why am I bothering to spend my limited time posting about this unpleasant, lying troll named Ben Coulter?  Because too much of the world is willing to sit silent in the face of brutality, threats, and all sorts of morally reprehensible behavior.  Coulter has committed each of those atrocities.  Not against me, but against a reviewer who dared to tell him what she thought about his books.

The above paragraph is not an opinion stated as a fact.  It is fact stated clearly through the images of Coulter’s words, captured before he took the coward’s way out and attempted to delete the evidence of his foul behavior.

Our world has turned into the cesspool it is because people stay silent in the face of blatant bullshit.  As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

I refuse to “do nothing.” My Twitter timeline holds many examples of my refusal to “do nothing”, as does this blog.  This post is a example of that refusal.

Before I lay this post to rest I would like to say something that may not be obvious. I have never read any of Coulter’s work.  Not the samples on Amazon, nor anything else of his except his Twitter timeline.  You see this post has absolutely nothing to do with Author Ben Coulter’s ability to write novels that sell. All this post is about, is Coulter’s attempt to crush someone.  In his own, undeniable words “prepare for me to destroy you“. That to someone who dared to tell him they didn’t like his work. Sadly it seems he managed to drive Jade @Faceki off Twitter. I wonder if Jade is Coulter’s first victim, and whether she will be his last?

You may choose to remain silent and “do nothing” in the face of evil, but I will not.

Posted in Tweets | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Papa

A note left on my desk by my youngest daughter, Julia.

~ Papa ~

Sometimes my roses aren’t red
And my violets never quite a shade of blue
But one thing that will always remain
I love you.
So when your roses aren’t red, and
those violets aren’t blue
Please remember
I will always love you

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Submissive, to Society.

Does society serve us, or do we serve society?

In a conversation with a female friend she mentioned how she had been brought up to be submissive.  I felt an inexplicable pleasure at this and since I believe inexplicable deserves explanation, it set me to thinking.  The rather shame filled results of those thoughts appear below.

There are powerful feelings embedded in words like submissive.  Powerful things I have realized are not all the good we’re raised to believe they are.  As a boy, I was trained to not show emotion, to “be strong”.

What a crock of nonsense!

Being strong bears no relationship whatsoever to our ability to suppress emotion.  Yet our loving parents are so conned by an uncaring, manipulative society that they raise their kids to fit neatly into predefined stereotypical roles.  Roles that religion reinforces to the benefit of a system structured to churn out obedient, unthinking thralls who will marry, and raise another generation of obedient, unthinking thralls.

Society makes me sick.

So why did my hearing a woman admit to being submissive make me feel good?  Because just like her, I’ve been raised in a stereotypic fashion.  My parents loved me, yet they also raised me to believe men should be dominant and women submissive.  That is wrong.

It is incredibly difficult to break the mold in which we were shaped. If we’re to achieve a system where people actually matter more than their ability to serve society till they’re worn out…  If we’re to achieve a family that serves for more than churning out another generation for corporate mills, or uncaring governments, to use and discard…  If we’re to achieve something that matters, then we must break the mold in which our characters where formed.

We must teach our children that what lies in their hearts is theirs to decide, not ours to determine.  We must teach our children that they are valued, that they are loved, and that they are free. We must teach them to question, not to obey.  We must teach them that they are free to chart a course outside of the serfdom society needs to keep its skewed systems functioning.  They must learn that they are free to chart a course to happiness, wherever and with whomever they find it.  We must teach them that their happiness cannot be at the expense of others, and that if they are to matter then they must treat everyone they meet as also mattering.

Both you and I have shackles we must break.  Those shackles bind us into a society of extreme disparity where the vast majority serve, and the miniscule minority do not.  Those shackles demand that we train our children to obedience over thought.  Those shackles are what make us favor the normal over the unique.  Those shackles make us value inanimate material objects over living beings.  Those shackles bind us, and in return they grant us nothing but an illusion of safety.  Those shackles don’t even attempt to grant us an illusion of dignity.

I am no man’s servant.  Are you?

Instead of clinging to an illusion of freedom let us cling instead to the hope of an understanding love.

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What is True Friendship?

I place inordinate value in true friendship. Likely because I have so few. So what is True Friendship, to me?

~ True Friendship ~
~
We can talk of many anythings,
and understand.
We can talk of many anythings,
and never judge.
We can talk of many anythings,
and be forgiven.
We can talk of many anythings,
and still feel that we are loved.
~

To me, this is the nature of true friendship. I have, and have had, only three that meet this test. And yes, true friendship is indeed something you should never test.

Some of my thoughts on friendship from Twitter appear below, perhaps you might enjoy reading them.  If you’re on Twitter you can forward them to your friends by retweeting them from right here, with the button inside each tweet.

While you consider my thoughts on friendship, ask yourself how many true friendships you have, and how much they mean to you. To me, mine mean the world.

The blood that binds friendship, flows not in veins. #thought

One of the most powerful things about social media is it’s ability to eliminate distance as a factor in friendship. #thought

Words, the anvil upon which friendship is formed, or destroyed.

#FF you say? Well, for me that inspired a poem about friendship – read it here:- http://bit.ly/CGApFrn And never forget your friends.

A friendship without trust might be better termed a mutual-use association.

Friendship is not subject to time’s passage.

a sign of true friendship is that time may pass, yet nothing changes, and when together again, all is, the same.

True friendship is something to be treasured, not tallied.

How is friendship formed? From mutual likes, respect, and trust? Perhaps knowing you can reveal your true nature, without fear of judgment?

{If you enjoyed this please look around, you’ll find [Samples] of my work to read, and perhaps some pieces that might be even considered poetic.
Indeed, you’ll even find a poem about friendship, }

Posted in Poetry, Random Musings, Tweets | Tagged | 1 Comment

How Measure You Success?

~ How Measure You Success? ~
~
By the count of downy feathers
with which you line your nest.
By the plushness of the pillows,
on which you lay your breast.
~
By the count of coins,
stashed in your hidden chests.
By servants you train to pander,
to your most trivial behest.
~
By the count of people,
you think you have impressed.
By the loyalties,
you so sorely stress.
~
By the count of homes you hold,
yet in which you never rest.
By the adversaries you’ve defeated,
and then have laid to rest.
~
By the count of lovely women,
who you’ve managed to undress.
By the tender delicacies,
that you so voraciously ingest.
~
By the count of supposed friendships,
put to unnecessary tests.
By levels of anguish imparted,
and your enemies’ distress.
~
By trivial counts of truly irrelevant things,
you’re certain you possess.
By other people’s woe,
and pleasures purely of the flesh.
~
How measure I success,
by the living beings,
with whose love I have been blessed.
~

P.S. Since it holds very powerful religious overtones to which I do not subscribe, I didn’t particularly like the choice of the word “blessed” to end this piece. However, my intent is to condense a couple of thoughts into a single word and it does seem to fit. Thoughts like… joy granted, both given and received, and any form of aid in even the most rudimentary way. Are these not real blessings that even the most materially impoverished can impart and accept? Share blessings without expectation of gain, and receive them gladly with an open heart. Always be generous with your love.

{If you enjoyed this then look around, you’ll find [Samples] to read, and perhaps even some pieces that might be considered poetic.}

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