Friday, May 28, 2004

Thou Shalt Not Read....

I have to admit to being a bit upset about this one -- I went to buy groceries today and before I made it into the store, I noted the bookstore next door. This is a combination new/used store and I've shopped there before. They've come under new management and though a bit more religious than the previous owners (as noted by their bookmarks) I really didn't care. I like to patronize indy bookstores so in I went on a hunt for Michael Connolly's latest.

It was the sign near the front door that stopped me in my tracks, the gist of which said that the store no longer carried Metaphysical or New Age books due to their devastating effect on readers. However, the store would be very happy to suggest books to help me with my personal relationship with God.

I read the notice... twice... to insure I got it right. And I left the store without making a purchase. As I shopped for my groceries, I fumed. And why, you ask?

Admittedly, an indy bookstore can carry whatever type of books they want. That is their right. What I found so astounding is that is they felt the need to censure what I might like to read, as if I was incapable of deciding if a book's content might "harm" me or not. Which begs the question -- are ideas harmful? Is reading about alternate religions or philosophy somehow dangerous?

I have a lithmus test I always apply to such situations. What would be the reaction if someone posted a sign that said they would no longer offer for sale any books related to Judaism or Christianity, citing their beliefs as detrimental? "However, we'd be pleased to offer books to assist with your personal relationship with (insert name of favored diety here)." I suspect an article or two might appear in the local paper over that one. Might even generate a few protesters in front of the store.

I debated and then discarded the notion of challenging the owners on their policy. If they are so inclined as to post such a notice, they're very unlikely to find my arguments persuasive.

In truth, I feel sorry for these folks. They have limited their spiritual and emotional growth by such a narrow-minded focus. Unfortunately, they're not the only ones in America who feel that other belief systems are somehow dangerous or subversive. All you have to do is look at the state of the world to see how such insular beliefs lead to war and genocide.

I'll be buying the latest Michael Connolly at Barnes & Noble. At least they won't tell me I can't read it.

Monday, May 24, 2004

A Letter from Iraq

I found the most exciting piece of mail in my box today -- a letter from some soldiers who are part of a Transportation Unit stationed in Southern Iraq. They're from the NY area originally.

As part of Operation RT ShoeBox (see URL below) I sent over a couple of packages of goodies about three weeks ago. Since these folks often can't get to a PX for a month or more at a time, personal supplies are pretty scarce. So I sent over a box of snacks (dried peaches/raisins), hand wipes, personal items of the feminine variety and anything else I could think these folks might like or miss. I sent books to another soldier who likes to read fantasy and a third box of goodies to another unit in care of their commanding offier. I figured they'd divy up the goodies and that's exactly what they did!

And lo, a letter! Wow! I urge anyone with any spare time (or a little extra cash) to send a letter/postcard/parcel over to let these fine men and women know they're in our hearts. We all listen to the evening news and know they need our support, no matter your take on the war. You only have to pay postage to NY and then the military takes it from there. Check out the Romantic Times website link below as they are restrictions as to what you can/cannot send.

I figure I'll drop a letter back (which will arrive faster - seems about 9 days or so) and then put together another couple of parcels with more goodies. I can only imagine what it's like to find a box with your name on it during mail call. Just like Christmas or Hanukkah.

At least we learned that lesson from Viet Nam -- don't blame the soldiers. They're only doing their duty.

May Peace Reign... (SOON!)


Operation RT Shoebox (

Another Week? So soon?

Is it morning already? Wow, what a weekend. First it was the all-day event at Georgia Writers and then it yesterday was full of two radio interviews and the scramble to get the new show on board. Sigh... I did manage to write a few lines of drivel last night before I went to bed. Actually, I didn't fall asleep immediately, I read more of Laurell K. Hamilton's Bloody Bones. Probably not the best stuff to read right before you go to bed, but I like the interplay between the various species, as it were: vampires, werewolves and a necromancer. Wow. What is it about vampires that fascinate us so much? That I'll have to ponder on.

My reward for the hectic weekend is a massage today (1-1/2 hours worth!) I can't wait. But until that magical hour, there are press releases to release, files to edit and web pages to update.

At least I can't say I'm bored.

Be well out there!

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Technology & Georgia Writers

Technology seduces me again!

With another deep sigh, I accept that technology keeps marching forward and I'll be left in the dust if I don't keep up. Courtesy of poetic friend, Collin Kelley, ( I have joined the world of blogging.

Spent the day at the Georgia Writer's Spring Festival communing with other authors, poets and the like and learning lots of nifty things. My workshop went over well (no rotten tomatoes, which is always a good sign) and I even sold a few books. YES!

But now it's back to the grind as I have two interviews tomorrow (Galina Golant & Dr. Ravay Snow-Renner -- both children's authors) and need to edit other interviews already 'in the can'. Ah, the joys of Internet radio (

Yawn... is it hot tub time yet?