Thursday, December 26, 2013

Back Home from North Louisiana


 Visited with the in-laws. Met the newest addition to the family. Ate an utterly delicious home-cooked Christmas dinner. Great fun! And on the way home, stopped at the Duck Commander store and had my picture made in front of the famous sign. Got a Phil T-Shirt. 

It was a quick trip -- up on Tuesday, Christmas dinner on Wednesday, back home today. Taking it easy for another day or two before jumping back into everything.

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Photo: T. Ward

Monday, December 23, 2013

...and a Happy New Year, too


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Public Domain Image by Petr Kratochvil

Phil's Right. The NAACP Is Wrong

Josh Barro: Robertson thinks black Americans were treated just fine in the Jim Crow-era South, and that they were happy there.

The NAACP: "As you may know, Phil attacked both African Americans and LGBT people in a recent GQ interview (January 2014) – saying that African Americans were happier under Jim Crow laws, and equating being gay with bestiality and promiscuity."

First, Phil didn't attack anybody. Second, I've already dealt with Barro's first lie, that Phil equated homosexuality with bestiality Here. http://one80dts.blogspot.com/2013/12/what-josh-barro-gets-wrong-about-phil.html

Now let's expose the NAACP's lie, and see whether or not Phil's memories are accurate.

Phil said,
"I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues."
I don't have any problem believing he never personally saw mistreatment of a black person. As a kid in the same era, I didn't, either. I heard about it, read about it ... never saw it with my own eyes.

Judging by his reference to welfare and entitlement, he is not talking about the effects of Jim Crow laws or the changes made by the civil rights movement. His use of the terms "pre-entitlement, pre-welfare" indicate he was talking the poverty programs of the 1960s -- i.e., the Great Society and the War on Poverty. And what were the effects of those programs?

(Note; these programs had the same effect on all poor families, but the subject of the question, the subject of the answer and the subject of the "outrage" is blacks, so that's what I'm discussing here).

Did the poverty programs end poverty for blacks? No. According to BlackDemographics.com, The poverty rate for all African Americans in 2012 was 28.1% which is an increase from 25.5% in 2005. Not a good track record for anti-poverty legislation that's been clipping along for fifty years or so.

But the poverty programs did far more damage to the black family than simply failing to end poverty. The absolute worse effect, with horrific consequences, was the removal of the husband and father from the black home -- which resulted, basically, in the dissolution of the black family.

Studies show that the safest place for women and children is in a home where there are two parents married to each other. Conversely, the single most accurate predictor that a child will live in poverty is being born into a single parent household.

In 1963, the black out-of-wedlock birthrate was 23%. Today it is 72% and growing. Again, according to BlackDemographics.com, black families with children under 18 headed by a single mother have the highest rate of poverty at 47.5 compared to only 8.4% percent of married-couple.

Do you suppose they're happy in their government-created, father-absent existence?

The marriage penalty built into welfare programs has basically destroyed the black family by removing husbands and fathers from the black home. The effects are far, far worse than mere poverty. Fatherlessness is the cause of some of the worst social pathologies in our society.

Children from fatherless homes are:

   15.3 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
   4.6 times more likely to commit suicide
   6.6 times more likely to become teenaged mothers
   24.3 times more likely to run away
   15.3 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
   6.3 times more likely to be in a state-operated institutions
   10.8 times more likely to commit rape
   6.6 times more likely to drop out of school
   15.3 times more likely to end up in prison while a teenage
   73% of adolescent murderers come from mother only homes
   6.3 times more likely to be in state operated institutions

CHILDREN NEED BOTH PARENTS

ItÂ’s a Fact!  HereÂ’s why:
     · 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. (Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census).
     · 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
     · 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes. (Source: CDC)
     · 80% of rapist motivated by displaced anger come from fatherless homes. (Source: Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 14, pp. 403-26).
     · 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. (Source: National Principals Assoc. Report on the State of High Schools).
    · 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home. (Source: Fulton County Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. Of Corrections, 1992).

These statistics translate to mean that children from fatherless homes are:

     · 5 times more likely to commit suicide
     · 32 times more likely to run away
     · 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
     · 14 times more likely to commit rape
     · 9 times more likely to drop out of high school
     · 20 times more likely to end up in prison

http://fathersunite.org/statistics_on_fatherlessnes.html

So, blacks weren't better off before the "poverty" programs that didn't erase poverty but did erased the black father and destroyed the black family?  They're happier living with these horrific social pathologies than they were living in intact families working the fields? Black mothers in that situation weren't happier than black welfare mothers today who lose their children to behavioral disorders, crime, joblessness, hopelessness, suicide, murder and prison? Would YOU be happier with that?

Phil is right.

And the NAACP not only lies. They are enabling the destruction and misery of blacks by supporting toxic policies and effects that accompany welfare programs.

What Josh Barro Gets Wrong About Phil Robertson

(I have noted on my other blog that I'm not entirely comfortable with some types of religious discussion online, particularly doctrine and the meaning of scripture, because I think it is a not good venue or format for such discussions. But sometimes I have to disregard my discomfort and make some written observations of a religious nature.)

What Barro gets wrong the same thing nearly all critics of Robertson who are ignorant of Scripture get wrong.

Barro says, http://www.businessinsider.com/when-you-defend-phil-robertson-heres-what-youre-really-defending-2013-12
Robertson hates gay people. Robertson in 2010: "Women with women, men with men, they committed indecent acts with one another, and they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversions. They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil.

This last one is key. My inbox is full of "love the sinner, hate the sin" defenses of Robertson's 2013 remarks. But Robertson doesn't love gay people. He thinks they're, well, "full of murder."  His views on gays are hateful, inasmuch as they are full of hate.
You have to look at who "They" is referring to in the scripture, and Barro obviously isn't doing that.

You have to go back to the opening verses of the passage. The people Paul is writing about (in Barro's comment) are clearly identified in verse 18 of Romans, Chapter 1 -- men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. What truth are they suppressing? The truth about God -- his eternal power and divine nature. And due to suppressing this truth, they become so foolish as to substitute man himself or animals for God.

Now, does it have to be explained that man and animals do not have eternal power or a divine nature? Does it have to be explained that they are not fit subjects for human worship, and worshiping them will have all kinds of detrimental effects? A look at those affects is what follows in that scripture.

So who are the people described? People who think it is not worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God.  Homosexuals are not the ones instigating the evil listed, and Robertson didn't say they were. They are not the cause -- they are part of the result. The cause is refusing to retain the knowledge of God.

Now, you may disagree with this passage of scripture, Barro -- but DON'T DELIBERATELY MISSTATE WHAT IT SAYS.

Only verses 26 and 27 (highlighted in red, below)  refer specifically to homosexual behavior. The verses before and after them identify clearly who is being discussed: men who suppress the truth (about God)  by their wickedness and who think it is not worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God. In other words, what the scripture is saying is, Remove the knowledge of God from your culture, and expect the following...

Our culture is FULL of such people, both those who suppress knowledge of God, and those who exhibit the behavior of life without God's influence -- in politics, in education, in business and industry, in entertainment. Our whole secular culture constantly pushes the notion that it is not worthwhile for society or individuals to retain the knowledge of God, as Barro has just demonstrated. And the result is what you see rampant in our culture: murder, envy, strife, hatred, and all the rest....

Phil knows this. Most Christians know it. Barro apparently does not.

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Romans 1: 18-32

Verses 18-20
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Verses 21-25
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.

Verses 26-27
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Verses 28-31
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

Verse 32
Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Slight Cover Redesign

Got a lot of help from folks on writers' forums. I think it's a real improvement! In the original design, the stalker dude wasn't even visible at Amazon thumbnail size. Now, everything except the tagline is visible on the thumbnail, and even the tagline is readable at Amazon detail size.



I gave the pyscho stalker dude his meat cleaver back, on the advice of some critiquers at the author forums. Liberty Lamprey may think it looks like a Yoshi blade, but other folks figured out it's a cleaver held at an angle to the camera. (Then, too, LibertyLamprey may have just been in petty ridicule mode...)

Found these definitions of suspense and thriller, at least, insofar as novel genres go. Gone South is suspense, since the reader knows about the danger in advance, but the characters do not.
Suspense - when the reader knows something the character doesn’t, and the tension builds from wondering how or if the character will survive. Will he or won’t he fall into the trap, get shot by the sniper, or be eaten by the monster we know is waiting in the closet. Our hearts beat faster as the tension builds.

Thriller - the reader doesn’t see the threat coming. It’s slam-bang action, and the reader rides along with the protagonist, experiencing things as they happen to him, and is just as surprised when the monster jumps out from the closet.
More great info at the same website: http://hunterswritings.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/elements-of-the-psychological-thriller-mystery-suspense-andor-crime-fiction-genres/ 

It's fascinating to learn about the requirements of different genres.
  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Title Change


I like this one better. Oh, and thanks to LibertyLamprey for (unknowingly) suggesting the change in the knife blade.

I'm really enjoying the reading that's acquainting me with the suspense/thriller genre. I'm also reading up on Mobile, Alabama, where most of the story takes place. Reacquainting myself with the Battle of Mobile Bay ("Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" ~Damnyankee Admiral David Farragut), the Battle of Blakeley, and other area history and place of interest is also enjoyable.

Plotting continues; all the major and secondary characters have names, most have locations, and now I'm starting on their jobs/professions. Most of this is background noise, not really pertinent to the plot, and a lot of it probably won't even get mentioned in the story. But if you're a plotter you gotta know stuff like this. Oh, sure, you gotta know it if you're a pantser, too. But I think one of the major differences between plotters and pantsers is that plotters have to know this stuff up front, before actually writing the story. Pantsers don't even think about it until they reach a point in the storywriting where it's needed.

The first major target of Freedom Fair (the anti-Confederate Group, or, more accurately, the Confederate Erasure Group) will be Admiral Raphael Semmes. They want his statue on Church Street removed. They want the CSS Alabama artifacts removed from the City of Mobile's museum. They want his home on Government Street (privately owned by the First Baptist Church) closed to the public. They want Semmes, Alabama to change its name, as well as the Admiral Semmes Hotel.  They want all reminders of him erased.  They think if they can topple this remarkable fellow and genuine hero, all the rest will tumble like dominoes.... 

This is what the Dunbars are standing up to, and the cultural war of words that results is an ongoing drama played out in the Confederate heritage blogosphere -- and elsewhere.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

More Characters Coming Together

Meet Seth Becker, psychopath, of Weidner, Indiana... He's rather Adam Lanza-like, wouldn't you say?


And an anonymous anti-Confederate blogger who goes by the handle Hardtack....


And pro-Confederate blogger Vic Sellers (and his lovely wife, Lauren)....

Not sure yet where Vic and Lauren hail from... perhaps Arkansas or Texas

Story structure and plot are coming together, too, thanks to some great articles on structure and writing thrillers and suspense (not my usual genre).

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Images: 123RF, Dreamstime and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Meet the Protagonists...

 ... of the novella Going South...

Knox Dunbar and his wife, Sydney of Mobile, Alabama
The "Rock Stars" of Confederate Heritage

I always find images (models, usually stock models) to use during the writing of my stories, to prevent "character drift." (Back in the '80s, pre-Internet, I used to cut them out of catalogs and magazines). This model is very good for Knox, though I wish he were in more casual clothing.

All of the major characters have images, and preliminary backgrounds and backstories.

I have completed a 560-word synopsis, or overview, that will guide me through the early part of the writing.

Sometimes, the models I choose for the writing stage are used in promotions and video trailers when the story is finished. But it's a little early to be thinking about that for Going South....

Did I mention that this story is gonna be fun to write? It already IS fun!



UPDATE   UPDATE   UPDATE   UPDATE   UPDATE

Did you know it is a COPYRIGHT VIOLATION to cut pictures out of catalogs and magazines? So suggests one of Simpson's peanut gallery floggerettes.

Here is a link to the U.S. Code, Title Seventeen (Copyrights). I don't have time to wade through the chapters, sections and paragraphs, but any folks of leisure out there might skim it looking for the lowdown on cutting pictures out of magazines and catalogs (smirk).

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17

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Image composited from photos by 123RF images and C. Ward

Going South -- First Ideas

Goaded by content on the Internet, a deranged northern youth travels to Alabama to "rid the world of some Neo-Confederates." He targets a husband and wife in Mobile, Alabama, who have gained kudos from the Southern heritage community for their work in standing up for Confederate history and heritage.

(Backstory: Mobile has been selected as a target for "Confederate cleansing" by a new leftist, "anti-racist" group. The ideological battle -- and the war of words -- between this group, and the husband/wife team and their supporters, has attracted considerable attention on the social nets and the blogosphere, and is coming to the attention of the news media.)

The husband/wife team (and their children) are vilified, lied about, harassed, and persecuted by critics -- mostly online, although there have been some disturbing offline incidents. They do not publicize the incidents, but a few of their friends know, and are worried about them.
Did I mention this is gonna be fuh-huh-hunnnn to write?

This One's Gonna Be Fun to Write


Will be a short story or novelette, probably.

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Cover mock-up comp image copyright by 123RF Images.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

An insight into show, don't tell.

Writers are always learning, I guess.  Back in 2006 or so, when I started writing fiction again (the last time had been in the 1980s) I found all kinds of bewildering new rules online. One of the worst was show, don't tell. Another one was GMC. A third was ending every chapter, even every scene with some kind of hook...

I muddled along and got stuff written and continued trying to educate myself about these rules, but eventually gave up. That might account for leaving a number of WIPs on the shelf, un-worked on, for months on end.

Recently I forced myself to do some plotting on the top three stories I'd like to get written. I went back and read what I had got done so far. In Dumb Jock, I came across this scene opener that occurs a good way into the story. It's blatant telling:
Alex stepped out of the club house into a dimly lit, utilitarian corridor with cinderblock walls concrete floor that led to the stadium exit. He was accompanied by two of his teammates -- Joe, a tall, rangy third-baseman, and Bill, center-fielder, who were keeping up an understated banter about each other's performance during the game, which the Mullets had one, barely, 5 to 4. Everybody was feeling good, as they usually did after a victory.
Groan.

It came to me immediately that this was telling and that I needed to show it. (Why didn't that occur to me when I originally wrote it?).  So I tossed around and figured these guys engaging in some after-game baseball banter could start the showing.  Something about game performance, maybe. So I sat there staring at the screen, because I don't know what baseball players would say in that scenario. I googled "baseball banter"  but didn't find out much. So then I decided they'd talk about personal stuff rather than baseball stuff. Maybe food. Maybe going to get something to eat, a post-game meal, maybe. Men are always thinking about food, right?

This was an opportunity to do some characterization, as well. And it came to me that I didn't know these characters, not even Alex.

It further came to me that I knew the characters in my published stories intimately -- Troy and Patty, the three sweet Southern boys, even secondary characters and villains. Knew them all, and knew all about them. Knew things about them even they didn't know.

I thought back over the writing of those stories, and realized that the way I got to know them was by writing about them. By writing the stories. Yes, I did some advance character profiling, but they came to life -- their personalities, quirks, mispronounciations, outlooks, sense of humor, etc., emerged -- with the writing of the story....

Well, duh.

I've probably known this, on some level, in the past, but lost it.

So I will have the three players banter about food, and later, as their personalities solidify with the writing of the story, I can go back and change the dialog to fit them better, if need be...

Show, don't tell. For me, it's tied to the characters' personalities.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Progressives of Yancy County, Georgia



Sweet Southern Boys 
Legacy of Fortitude - Book Two

by Connie Chastain
Excerpt

In the fluorescent brightness of the Howe Street Cafe, Maureen stirred her coffee and purposely averted her eyes from the pair seated across from her. For a fleeting moment, she feared she would burst out laughing if she looked at them again. Thank goodness, sheer force of will dissipated the impulse and she glanced up.

 Her booth companions looked even more bizarre than they had at the One Community meeting earlier, when they had invited her for coffee to become better acquainted.

In her mid-fifties, Clara Lawson was barrel-shaped and red-faced but her most striking feature was her short, impossibly black hair, so black it thoroughly absorbed the light and gave off not a hint of reflection or highlight, not even the light from the neon sign glowing through the plate glass window that bathed their booth in an aura of pink.

Clara was progressivism's propagandist in Yancey County. She wrote columns for various free tabloids in south Georgia both promoting progressive viewpoints and pooh-poohing as hysteria the arguments of critics. Owner and publisher of The Verona Progressive, she owned the building, once a convenience store, that housed the newspaper offices and donated space for One Community.

Next to her sat Nora Weir. Her tall, thin frame worked with her pale eyes and ash blond hair to project a delicate, almost colorless appearance, distinctly at odds with her implacable personality. Earlier, during the meeting, by way of introduction, she had told Maureen, "For the past three years, I've been the head of a severely needed anti-racist initiative in Yancey county."

Now, stirring her coffee heavily laden with cream and sugar, Nora expanded.

"When I first arrived in Verona, I was astounded. It was like this place never knew there was a civil rights movement twenty, thirty years ago, never heard of Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior, or Brown versus the Board of Education, never heard of Selma or Freedom Summer or all the other civil rights efforts--or the massive and bloody resistance from Southern whites.”

Clara nodded. "Ditto feminism, despite a very savvy and active group at the university that's been working hard on women's issues almost twenty years. Bianca can tell you more at our next meeting. She's gone to a women's issues conference in Saint Louis this week."

"I'll be glad when I can meet her," Maureen said. "I'll admit, I was a bit disappointed tonight by the attendance. I don't know why, but I was expecting more than six or seven people, even in such a small town."

Clara looked pensive a moment. "You might as well be told about this now. We're ... sort of ... rebuilding. One Community was founded two and a half years ago by Ruth Adamsky from the Twin Cities in Minnesota. She is sponsored by several people in Minneapolis, who sent her South to organize progressive groups. She's a genius at initial organization, but not at all interested in administration. Eight months after One Community was launched, it was going great -- member organizations were networking, helping each other, keeping each other informed, and welcoming a couple of newly founded groups. Happy with that success, Ruth relocated to start the same process in Dothan, Alabama."

Nora appeared to tune out most of what Clara said -- she'd probably heard it all before -- and her eyes glanced at the other patrons of the cafe. The faint look of disdain on her pale countenance intrigued Maureen, and she had to force her attention back to Clara's narrative.

"Roughly a year after One Community started, Jessica Grant, the director of the Women's Assistance Group at the time, helped a woman in a local business with a sexual harassment complaint. Jessica aggressively pursued this guy, and it got out of hand. What was supposed to be a confidential, in-house investigation and resolution was broadcast all over town. The man's reputation was ruined, at least temporarily, and his family harassed, including his elementary school children."

Faint lines appeared between her brows and she shook her head in regret.

"Turned out that he had ironclad proof not only of his innocence, but that the woman accusing him had hit on him. Tried to seduce him in his office after work. Rumor had it that she was somewhat emotionally unstable, a factor Jessica ignored.”

Clara paused for a sip of coffee, interrupting an absorbing narrative, and Maureen resisted the urge to snap, Well? What happened?

“She was eager to spotlight a sexual harassment case because it really was a big problem in corporate Verona. Still is. But some people thought Jessica went too far. The WAG lost some members over that, and it even set One Community back quite a bit. We're starting to recover now, though. Bianca's done a great job rebuilding WAG."

Nora examined the wadded paper napkin she'd been toying with and glanced to her companions. "If he didn't do it to that girl, he did it to some other one. Probably more than one."

Somewhat taken aback by Nora's demeanor -- there was something a little creepy about her -- Maureen suppressed the thought that Nora would never have to worry about being sexually harassed.

"Jessica said he was a typical privileged Southern white man," Nora continued, her pale eyes fastened on Maureen. "We're not like these Southerners, you know. Clara here's from Baltimore, I'm from Binghamton, New York and you're from -- Chicago, you said?"

"Yes. My family's been there generations."

Nora nodded. "These hicks and rednecks," she said, echoing Maureen's son, "they're not like regular people. They've been racists and haters so long, I think it altered their DNA. I honestly do. They can't recognize their own evil and don't even know what they are." Nora paused and lifted a corner of her mouth in a lopsided grin. "Excuse me, I need to go to the women's room."

She threaded her way through the tables in the dining room to the back of the building.

"Our Nora," Clara gave an embarrassed laugh. "She's a bit odd in her thinking, but she's as dedicated to eradicating racism as anybody you'd care to meet.”

She pulled a small notepad and pen from her purse, jotted a note, and handed it to Maureen. “This is Maxine Teasley's number. She'll be back in town day after tomorrow. She can help you get a volunteer position on the city events committee. That's where you've got to start if you want to tackle the Christmas Festival.”

“All right. Thanks.” Maureen folded the slip of paper. dropped it in her purse and felt the slight stirring of challenge warm her veins, anticipating the satisfaction of bringing cultural enlightenment to this benighted religious backwater.... 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Why Pronounciation Matters



(Found on Twitter and Keeping Babel at Bay: http://georg-grey.blogspot.mx/2012/05/why-your-pronunciation-is-important.html)

Self-Publishing Is the Cutting Edge

Bowker has reported increases in the numbers of book titles published overall for years, despite decreases in titles published by traditional publishers. The bibliographic information clearinghouse reported the growth has been ”driven almost exclusively by a strong self-publishing market.”  Natalie Burg, Forbes

http://www.forbes.com/sites/toyota/2013/07/29/how-print-on-demand-is-transforming-self-publishing/

Friday, May 24, 2013

Animated Ads

These will be going up soon on a popular romance novel review site. We'll see how effective banner ads are.





The illustrations are taken from the covers of the books.  The cover of Storm Surge was created by Jenifer Ranieri of Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc.

Sons of Adam....


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Want to Read Sweet Southern Boys -- for Free?

For your code to download the e-book for free, in whatever format you wish, message me via Facebook messenger, or email me between now and Saturday, 5/18 at c_l_chastain@yahoo.com

Sweet Southern Boys page at Smashwords:
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/209754

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Happy Happy Happy

 Phil Robertson -- Making Bible-thumpin' Cool


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Image: Facebook

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Just Don't Add Up

(Edited from a comment I made in a thread on Facebook.)

There's a lot of hysteria and paranoia about Obama and how he plans to destroy America, kill many Americans and make slaves of the rest. I'm at a loss to explain it, unless it's a holdover from the Cold War and mutually assured destruction.

Obama's aim to disarm citizens has been an ongoing topic among his Internet critics In a recent thread on Facebook, the discussion centered on Internet rumors that the Secret Service would be empowered to confiscate guns from American citizens. Someone mentioned Obama's past comment about creating a civilian security force, and wondered how that would figure into gun confiscation.

I noted that he said that (about a civilian security force) in 2008 as a candidate. Hasn't mentioned it again since.

One thing has mystified me about the dire speculation following the election, Benghazi, and Sandy Hook. What's missing in all the talk of armored vehicles, FEMA coffins and billions of rounds of ammo for DHS is ... who's gonna fire them? This is the one element that has been missing since the beginning of the speculation -- enough people (enough of the right kind of people -- trained and ruthless).

First, it was the US military ... but evidently, Obama found out he can't count on them, even with all the firings and removals of top brass, so the military sort of faded from the speculation talk. So then it was UN troops. The problem with that is that WE are the UN, for all intents and purposes. If our troops won't do his bidding as the American military, they're not going to do it as members of a UN coalition. Our friends in the UN (Europe, Canada, Oz, etc) will not do it. Basically, that leaves (1) Islam and (2) the third world. Are Muslims going to take orders from an American president, regardless of how friendly he is to Islam? And who really thinks third worlders like Somalis can enforce gun confiscation here?

Forget the UN.

So then it was Interpol. And Interpol's charter/constitution forbids such actions. My understanding from online info is that they aren't law enforcement agents, per se, anyway. They're a liaison between law enforcement authorities in different countries that need to work together on international criminal cases.

Then it was FEMA kids (all 231 of them). So now it's the Secret Service. Sounds like he's scraping the bottom of the barrel. It'll be interesting to see who will be put forth next as Obama's enforcers.

Wikipedia says there were 1,429,995 people on active duty in the armed forces as of Jan 31, 2013. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2,204,800 million civilians work for the Federal Government. Not all of those work in enforcement agencies; and not everyone employed by an enforcement agency is an enforcement agent. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, State and local law enforcement agencies employed about 1,133,000 persons on a full-time basis in 2008, including 765,000 sworn personnel.

So if you take the entire federal workforce many of whom are not enforcement personnel, and the entire US military and the entire state and local law enforcement employees, you have approximately five million (5,137,800) people.

The population of the United States is 313,914,040. That's 313 million as of July 2012. About 70 to 80 million of them are gun owners holding about 300 million firearms.

If the military, federal employees and state and local cops ALL turned into Obama enforcers (which of course isn't going to happen) and attempted gun confiscation precipitated civil war, you'd have 5 million of them opposed to 70 or 80 million civilian gun owners with 300 million guns and who knows how many bullets...

I dunno, folks. Seems to me it's not civilian gun owners who need to be skeered.

(Note, Internet statistics are woefully unreliable; as are my math skills. But even accounting for that, the situation just doesn't seem as dire as people's paranoia would indicate.)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sweet Southern Boys On Hunting....


Chapter One
Verona, Georgia
September 1985

Wesley Bratcher carried his lunch tray in a hard grip. He walked the center aisle of the noisy cafeteria looking left and right for his sister, Tiffany. Her hair was bright copper, like his, and usually made her easy to spot in a crowd, but not today. Abandoning his search for her, he looked for an empty seat anywhere.

It was the third of September, the first day of school and Wesley's first day as a fourth-grader at Cloverdale Elementary School. Except for his sister, he didn't know a single person here.

He found an empty seat and set his tray down. Three boys about his age were sitting opposite him, talking and laughing. They had brought their lunches from home and their side of the table was a trash heap of paper bags, food wrap, bread crusts and throw-away plastic.

Wesley's progressive parents impressed upon him the importance of respecting the environment and he always noticed when that respect was violated. These three had evidently been raised with no environmental consciousness.

In appearance, they were as different as noon, sunset and midnight, but they all spoke with the Southern hick accent that irritated Wesley to no end. They compounded his irritation by making spontaneous use of baffling regional idioms that tried his patience every time he heard them.

They paid no attention to him when he first sat down. It was rude and it proved that southern hospitality, which he'd heard so much about, was nothing but a crock. After a while, they noticed him and started talking to him, and that annoyed him, too.

The one in the middle had done most of the talking. He was the first to speak to Wesley.

"Hi, you're new, aren't ya? What's your name?" Collar-length brown hair framed his face, which was almost pretty enough to be a girl's.

Sissy.

The assessment was sullen and gratuitous because, except for his face, there was nothing girlish about him.

"Wesley Bratcher. I'm from Chicago." His midwestern accent marked him as an outsider, and he felt a jolt of pride from it.

"My name's John Mark. What grade are you in?"

"Fourth."

"We are, too."

The black-haired boy on John Mark's left looked at Wesley with benign curiosity.

"I'm Randy Stevenson," he said. "Do you play any sports? We play baseball and basketball and football."

Randy's eyes were dark and there was something odd about them Wesley couldn't pinpoint. His face wore a sort of neutral friendliness but the eyes gave Wesley the creeps.

"I skateboard."

"Hey! I do, too!" John Mark said. "Do you know where the skate park is here? It's Skatescape on Powell Avenue. I can tell you how to get there. But it's real small and pretty crappy compared to the ones in Atlanta or Jacksonville or Tampa. 'Course, you can street skate nearly anywhere. I do a lot of that. Do you do any tricks? Right now I'm learnin' all the stuff you can do with a trick called the ollie kickflip. Man, is it cool!"

During the chatter, the boy with blonde hair directly across from Wesley stopped sipping milk through a straw and set the carton down. He cut his blue-gray eyes sharply toward John Mark and showed his teeth in an impish grin. "Jabber, jabber."

John Mark aimed a thumb to the right and told Wesley, "This is Shelby. He don't have manners sometimes."

Shelby slid his eyes -- they were striking but not creepy, like Randy's -- to the newcomer. "Wock here's awesome. Been skatin' since he was six. He'll be state champion someday."

Introductions accomplished, the three boys took up their original conversation where it had left off and Wesley resumed eating in silence.

The Bratchers had moved to Georgia a month earlier. Wesley hated Verona from the moment they arrived. He'd learned nothing during his first morning at his new school to change that.

His table companions behaved like they had been friends a long time. Wesley had friends like that back home and he missed them terribly. He wondered if he would ever find friends among these Georgians--or whether he'd want to.

For about the millionth time since moving here, he was struck by the sheer foreignness of this place and these people. Assailed by a fresh wave of homesickness, he tuned out the talk across the table until something Shelby said caught his attention.

"....and Daddy wants to buy membership in a huntin' lodge in Early County. It's just across the river from the nuculer power plant in Alabama. He said everybody wants to hunt there 'cause you can't miss when you shoot--the deer glow in the dark!"

Shelby cackled and John Mark laughed like a chipmunk, the glint from his braces matching the twinkling in his eyes. But Randy didn't crack a smile. He tilted his head dubiously and said, "It's against the law to hunt deer at night."

Shelby gave him a pointed look. "It's a joke, Mister Spock."

"It's a dumb joke 'cause you can't hunt deer at night," Randy insisted.

Joke or not, Wesley was appalled. "You shoot deer? Like, with a gun?"

"Well, you can't bring 'em down with spitballs," Shelby said. "My daddy got me a Remington model seven Bambi-buster for my birthday. Had to get a used one, but it's a sweet rifle and I can't wait to try it. Deer season starts next month."

Wesley's incredulous gaze fastened on Shelby. "My parents say hunting is barbaric. How can you hunt deer? They don't hurt anything."

Shelby rolled his eyes and didn't answer but John Mark piped up, "Look, think of deer like they're big rats on stilts. They don't have no natural enemies. If people don't kill 'em, they'll multiply into a plague. They'll eat up all the crops and come up in your yard and eat it, and you'll run over 'em on the highway."

Still horrified by the idea of shooting animals, Wesley looked from one to the other of them and asked, "Do all of you guys hunt?"

"Yep." John Mark gave him an an emphatic nod. "But just varmints until this year."

Wesley frowned in incomprehension.

Randy explained. "Squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, little critters like that."

"Oh." Wesley looked down at his plate, his appetite gone. The talk of shooting animals had given him a touch of nausea.

Shelby stuffed his lunch clutter into a paper bag and stood up. "Well. Welcome to Cloverdale Element'ry, yank."
 ________________
Images: Remington Arms Company; U.S. Government; Bacalao via Fotolia.com

Sexy Snippets from Southern Man ...


... for a certain critic, who evidently thinks pop-culture sex is a-okay unless is appears in a romance novel and depicts the intimacy of  a man a woman committed to each other through marriage for life....  Then, it tends to be trashy ....

What do you think?  Is this snippet trashy?

(Excerpt edited for length and clarity.)


Patty poured bubble bath into the oversized tub and turned the shiny chrome handles....She piled her hair on top of her head and fastened it with a barrette. Without haste, she undressed, stepped into the tub and carefully eased down into the hot water. She had been there several minutes, enjoying the music and waiting, when she heard her husband enter the bedroom.

“Tro,” she called.

“What?” He stood just inside the door and looked down at her. Only her head and shoulders showed above the froth.

“Get in.” She tilted her head to give him an inviting smile. 

“You shameless hussy.”

“It’ll make you feel good.”

He shook his head. “Real men don’t take bubble baths.”

But one side of his mouth quirked up as he unbuttoned his shirt and pulled it from his trousers. The half-smile changed to a mock leer and in moments he was naked, his clothes tossed carelessly onto the hamper. He stepped into the tub, grimaced at the temperature of the water and sat down gingerly, pulling air through his teeth.

“Turn around and I’ll rub your shoulders,” she said.

“I won’t argue with that. This water’s hot.”

“It only takes a minute to get used to it, wuss.” She squeezed water from a bath sponge across his neck and shoulders, kneaded them gently and listened to his not entirely put-on moans and groans....

Patty leaned back against the slanted wall of the tub, pulled him against her and crossed her arms around his neck. Troy grasped her feet and stroked her insteps with his thumbs. They lay there in silence, eyes closed, as the last of the day’s tension from fussing children, radical feminists and plummeting sales dissipated seemingly into the water.

After a while, he rolled over toward her, making their diminishing blanket of bubbles rock and slosh. She studied his face—the dark eyes, the exquisitely shaped lips, now slightly parted, the fine coating of sweat. Her steadfast love for him began to stir into ardor.

You beautiful, sloe-eyed man! It’s a miracle that you love me and belong to me!


He studied her face, too, and murmured, “You’re so sweet and you look so cute covered with bubbles and your hair done up like that. I wish I could stay with you all night—we could have so much fun together—but I have to go.”

She blinked. “Go? Why?”

“I promised my wife I’d be home by ten-thirty. If I’m not, she’ll pitch a hissy-fit.”

“The bitch,” Patty said caustically, her brows lowering. “You are completely henpecked.”

She filliped the water, sending a small splash toward him. He jerked his head to the side but not quickly enough. With drops rolling down his face, he flashed her a menacing grin.

“Oh, you bad girl, you have done it now,” he said, giving each word exaggerated enunciation. “You better watch it ’cause you never know when I’m gonna get you for that.”

She put the tip of her forefinger in her mouth for a moment and said, “You won’t, though.”

“Prob’ly not. But I ought to. Think how pissed you’d be if I’d done that to you.”

“Yes, but you know I would mind, and I know you don’t.”

As she looked at him, the desire building inside her fountained upward to show in her face and glow in her eyes. She didn’t try to conceal it, but took his face in her hands and pulled him closer to kiss him.

She kept it going a long time. He stirred but made no move away from her, no attempt to break the seal of their lips. At last, she did, and tilted her head back enough to see his face, to lose herself in the sweetness of his expression and in the beginning of passion and desire her kiss had put in his eyes.

He blinked and inhaled, as if breaking out of a mild trance, and slid forward to follow up with a kiss of his own. He murmured against her mouth, “Darlin’ darlin’ baby ... I’m gettin’ in the shower.”

Troy believed tubs were for relaxing in and showers were for getting clean. Patty watched him step out and walk through the doorway to his bathroom. Naked or clothed, he was magnificent, exquisitely proportioned, like Michelangelo’s David, like da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, except for the slight extra length to his legs, which enhanced rather than detracted from his perfection....

Patty finished bathing and flipped the drain lever. She wrapped herself in her terry robe... In her bathroom, she got ready for bed. Passing over her usual nightwear, tailored tricot pajamas, she shimmied into a short, slinky white negligee, because Troy was needful tonight and she was wantful. And because it was the last thing a bitchy, hissy-pitching wife would wear.

She put a dab of Parthenope into the hollow at the base of her throat, removed the barrette and let her brown locks fall uncombed to her shoulders.

In the cool, dim bedroom, she checked to see that Troy had shut the door to the hallway. The children knew not to come into their parents' bedroom when the door was closed unless it was an emergency, and to knock first in any case.

Troy emerged from his bathroom, dried off but slightly damp and naked but for the towel around his waist because naked was how he slept. He kept a pair of pajama bottoms under the mattress for quick access on the nights when storms or bad dreams brought the little ones scurrying to sleep with Mama and Daddy.

Patty stepped up to him and gave him a petulant look. “You said you’d be home by ten-thirty. Where were you? Who is she?”

He shook his head, grinning. “You’re not a very convincing harridan, sweetheart. You just don’t have it in you.”

Their little game had been fun, but his smile faded and the look on his face said he was ready to get back to reality. A sultry flame leaped to life in his eyes as they went down her body and moved back up to her face. With a forefinger, he pushed aside the thin strap of her negligee, trailed his lips along her shoulder and nuzzled her neck.

Patty shivered and broke out in goose pimples.

She gave the towel a tug and it fell to the floor.

Troy put his arms around her, pulled her to him and kissed her. He took a soft, uneven breath and murmured, “She’s you. You’re all the women I want—my sweet wife, my children’s mother, my helper, naughty girl, best friend .... and I love every one of y’all to death.”

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Question...


 If you want to see the role erotica plays in grinding down America, watch this the movie, AGENDA: Grinding America Down, here: http://vimeo.com/52009124

Free to view for a limited time, and worth it -- IF you care about the survival of your culture, your country and the families that form their foundation.

___________________________
Image by C. Garbiano via StockXchange.

Trashy Novels? Installment Two

Certainly Connie doesn’t [celebrate African Americans' struggle for freedom and equality] as her all-white cast of heroes and heroines in her own “books” demonstrates.

Observing the color of the cast of characters in Connie’s writing ... is just that: an observation. ... However, it is a bit of a stretch to say one is writing “pro-southern” literature if the South one imagines lacks people of color.

Apparently segregation (or outright exclusion) reigns supreme in her fictional world, too....
Brooks D. Simpson
Professor of History
Arizona State University
on Crossroads, his personal blog

Notice how he goes from "all-white cast of heroes and heroines" in my books (which is an accurate restatement of my description, "all the heroes in my novels are Southern white men, and all the heroines are Southern white women) to "the color of the cast of characters in Connie's writing..." that is, all the characters in all my writing.

He makes these judgments, as I've noted before, without having read my novels. If he had read them, or read one of them, he would know about this scene.  Of course, that knowledge would be no guarantee that he wouldn't ignore it ... or lie about it.

______________________________________
Excerpt (edited for spoilers) 
 Sweet Southern Boys

A layer of diaphanous clouds lightened the blue spring sky when Randy halted his motorcycle in a parking lot of the Cloverdale Community Recreation Center. To his right lay two baseball diamonds, vacant now, but soon they'd be churning with activity. Only a few vehicles took up parking spaces here and there.  Whoever had driven them was nowhere to be seen.
 Randy sat astride his motorcycle to wait and a bittersweet nostalgia overtook him.  So many memories of his life were centered on this place.  Here he had cemented his friendship with Shelby and John Mark playing basketball, baseball, and the occasional round of tennis. Here he had volunteered with the youth leagues, sometimes assisting the teams  his father coached.
Here, when he was eight, he had been stalked by the crazy woman who had accused his father of sexual harassment.  Brooke Emerson.  He remembered her clearly. Tall, a bit thin, with fine hair, the palest blond he'd ever seen.  She would come to him after his Saturday games, lean on the low chain link fence that separated them and say, "Hi, Randy."

"Hi," he'd say back to her, barely audibly.  And then, deeply disturbed for some reason, he would scurry away to find Miss Gina, his ride home.

It was right after Randy told his father about her coming to his ballgames that Troy confronted her at work, and in a matter of days, a pack of feminist she-wolves had pounced on his father with breathtaking viciousness.

Although Randy had thought back over that period many times, and invariably felt deeply indignant on his father's behalf, he had never begun to grasp the full burden of false accusation -- until now.
* * *

Randy had been waiting about ten minutes when he saw Flora Jackson's Oldsmobile stop in the parking lot and drop off a passenger before turning back to the road.  Keyonne headed for the entrance to the field house, but happened to glance in Randy's direction, and paused.

Randy's heart beat faster and a sick feeling settled in the pit of his stomach.  Perhaps this wasn't such a good idea, after all.  Still, he was here and Keyonne had seen him. He might as well do what he came here to do.

He wasn't sure what to expect.  Perhaps Keyonne would ignore him and keep walking.  Perhaps he would cold-cock him.  Randy would never know until he went to him.

Head high, dignity intact, Randy stepped across the gravel, and Keyonne turned toward him.  Randy could detect no hostility in his demeanor or actions.  When ten feet separated them, they stopped and stared at one another.

Randy inhaled deeply.  "I've been wanting to see you, and ask you something, since this whole thing started."

Keyonne nodded noncommittally.  "Arright."

Throat tightening, Randy swallowed hard.  "Do you believe I hurt your sister?"

Pain came to Keyonne's face and he shook his head.

Distressed by his friend's silence, Randy had to make his case.  "I didn't."

"I know that," Keyonne said.  "I know it's not in you to do somethin' like that.  I've been wanting to tell you I don't hold nothin' against you.  But I guess I didn't have the guts."

Randy blinked back a stinging in his eyes as relief almost like pain washed over him.  "What about Miss Flo? I've been so worried that she might hate me."

Keyonne shook his head.  "Mama didn't want to believe Tam would lie about something like that, especially about someone who's been my friend for so long.  But we all know how she is. She's a slut, Randy, and a druggie. Hate to say that about my own half-sister, but she is. In the past year, her grades have fallen so's she's barely passing.  She don't act like herself.  It's breakin' Mama's heart."

"I didn't know."

"I told Mama from the start I didn't believe it.  But I guess when you're a mama, it's hard not to stand by your daughter, especially when she's in the shape Tam's in.  She's a nutcase most of the time."

"Keyonne, I'm so sorry to hear that."

"Mama believed Tam at first, but I can see that mama's doubts have grown.  It hard for her to think that an innocent boy could go to prison for thirty years based on a lie told by her child."

Randy nodded, unable to speak for a  moment.  The stinging in his eyes turned to a film of tears and he blinked hard.  "I have to go.  Thanks for talking to me."  He turned toward his motorcycle.

"Randy."

He looked back.

"I don't know if our friendship will survive this," Keyonne said.  Now tears pooled in his eyes, too.  "I hope so. But whatever happens, I'll always think the world of you, and your mama and daddy, and your sister. Tell them I said that."

He held out his hand.  They walked to each other and grasped the base of each other's thumbs in a trembling handshake. Without another word, they parted. Keyonne resumed his trek to the field house and Randy kickstarted his motorcycle, rolled out of the parking lot, and headed home.
_________________________________________

No people of color in my "imagined" South? Methinks Brooks D. Simpson's own bigotry and intolerance, which involves actually perpetuating falsehoods about others (i.e., deliberately misconstruing and misstating what I had written about my novels, stories, characters, etc.), is far worse than that of people he accuses of it. 

Is anybody really surprised at this?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Trashy Novels? Installment One

Men as victims, falsely accused. Evil feminists. In Chastain’s fictional world, women are the protagonists, men simply objects upon which women project much (good or evil). And there’s a strong sexual undercurrent in them, sometimes veering toward the strange.... 
No wonder your “books” have not captured the imagination.... They’re simply not very good.
... your self-published novels ... tend toward the trashy.
The comments above were written by a critic of mine who is bigoted toward me because I'm a proSoutherner and a proponent of Southern (i.e., Confederate) heritage. His disapproval of me includes disparaging "reviews" of my novels which, significantly, he hasn't read, on his personal blog.

I'm not sure how he conceptualizes "strong sexual undercurrent". I don't know if I would apply that term to my stories -- I've described them, especially Southern Man, as having sexual themes, and a strong sexual component because, well, it's difficult to write about sexual harassment or the destructive fallout of the sexual revolution with writing about ... sex.

Here's a description of my first release, written cover-blurb style.
In 1983, in moss-hung Verona, Georgia, the tender and tenacious love between a hardworking man and his adoring wife is tested by sudden adversity.
Corporate executive Troy Stevenson must confront his nascent alcohol abuse or he risks losing the wife, daughter and son he deeply loves.  When his latent destructiveness impacts his family,  he moves to their weekend cottage to come to grips with his personal weaknesses.
But busybodies at his company assume he left home because his marriage is in trouble. Encouraged by the assumption, co-worker Brooke Emerson, an amoral, 1980s material girl romantically obsessed with Troy, attempts to seduce him, setting in motion a chain of events with harrowing consequences for him and his family.
Southern Man takes readers from the hills of Appalachia to the University of Alabama during the Paul "Bear" Bryant era; from staid New England to drug-drenched and sex-saturated Haight-Ashbury in the Summer of Love; from the glittering skyline of Atlanta to moss-hung south Georgia -- and reveals what can happen when a good man becomes the object of lust and the target of vengeance.
Yes, there are without doubt "sexy" passages in the novel.  But are they trashy? In my opinion, trashy sex scenes are written to titillate the reader -- usually solely for that reason. I believe this is the motive for writing pornography, erotica (porn lite) and erotic romance (porn extra-lite).

By contrast, the sexy scenes in Southern Man serve at least two main purposes -- to illustrate the strong sexual bond, within marriage, between the protagonist and his wife; and to compare it with the destructive "free-love" style of sex handed down from the sexual revolution. Below is an excerpt that I consider to be one of the most overtly sexual passages in the novel.

Being each other’s first and only, Patty had nothing to compare him to, but she was quite certain that there was no better lover on earth. As newlyweds, they learned sex together, doing what came naturally and teaching each other.

He could be the tenderest, most attentive lover imaginable. Most of the time, he was sweet and slow, his attention focused on her—on loving and pleasing her. But other times, more rarely, he was an animal, intense and vigorous and single-minded, in it for himself, driven by his body’s physiological need for release. Then, he seemed hypersensitive to everything she did, every touch, every kiss, the very sound of her voice.

Both extremes filled Patty's heart with love for him, like Scripture said—good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over—even as they filled her body with cravings for him.

She especially cherished the knowledge that no one else in the world—nobody but she—knew what he was like when he was sexed up. That part of him was hers, and hers alone.

Nobody but she had ever seen him when his hair was tousled by his lover’s fingers ... when his lips grew red and his lipline went fuzzy ... when moonlight slanting through the windows reflected off the whites of his eyes and the tips of his teeth, making them glow like nacre ... when, under lowered lids, his dark eyes smouldered, and his beautiful face took on a sultry expression of yearning ... when he was caught up in the warm, dreamy pursuit of ultimate gratification, and his respiration would go from long and deep to quick and staccato ... when it would catch in his throat from a spike in pleasure as they slowly, tantalizingly worked their way toward fulfillment ... it was like making love to an angel come down from heaven.

Trashy? You tell me.

I'll visit this subject again in the future.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Them Changes

This is a scaled down image of my new web portal, conniechastain.com. Eventually, the icons will become clickable links to various sites, pages and/or blogs.  If you visit http://conniechastain.com before the image mapping is complete, you can still visit the sites that are completed and online using a temporary text link.(Cont'd below graphic.)



















There are always unforeseen consequences when you go changing websites and such. There will likely be broken links and page-not-found errors for a while, but all you can do with them is fix 'em when you find 'em.

And it never hurts to have good music to work by.  Like this:

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Hooray! Duck Dynasty Returns This Month!

Happy, happy, happy!

Pay attention, Mister Pre-- Presi--  um.... HEY, OBAMA. This is how REAL MEN skeet shoot, Jack!


I hardly ever watch TV -- just Crimson Tide football and an occasional movie.  But I watch Duck Dynasty!  Love the Robertsons, love the show.  Clearly, A&E got this one right -- right down to the theme music -- ZZ Top's Smart Dressed Man!