So. Let’s be blunt. I think sex is wonderful. I agree love is the greatest thing in the universe. I like it when people live happily ever after, or at least I’m allowed to think they will. However, romantic love (in all its trials and tribulations) doesn’t carry a plot for me.
I like action, intrigue, and surprises. I enjoy puzzles, and profound thoughts. So why do I end up reading so many romance novels and then complaining about it in the reviews?
Read more about my frustration with romance writers at What makes it a romance novel?
My book Layers of Light is not only about human trafficking and female heroes, it is a book about the obstacles faced by women everywhere. It was written before the Me Too movement, and before we had a major candidate for president who was a woman. It was written before “grab ’em by the pussy” and Stormy Daniels. In some ways, it feels to me as if it comes out of a more naive time. How much of the world of 2019 should go into a rewrite?
Read more at How much changes in six years?
As far as rules of the road go, I fear I might have run out of words of wisdom. I feel myself spiraling out towards lofty observations like “always put love first” or inane comments like “don’t forget to give the pets treats.” I guess rule #27 is going to be: If you didn’t learn anything special today, it’s okay. Don’t worry about it.
I do have a song for the day, however. It was introduced to me by my sweet and lovely host and I think of her when I hear it. It also is about being beckoned home, and about the things that light our way. At Burning Man, the lights off to the right helped me find my way back to my tent. Today, in this second to last day of my four week journey, she was one of the lights along my path.
Read more at Day 27. Lights Along My Path and enjoy my favorite song about lights.
My average rating for women’s books is over a point lower than for those written by men (3 stars versus 4.25 out of five.) What is going on ? I’m a feminist! I’m a huge fan of women authors and a strong supporter of women anything! Am I secretly sexist? I took a closer look at the books.
Read the full post at Our Own Kind of Porn.
This is only partly a heartfelt tale about the effects of rape. It is just as much the story of an older lesbian woman seeking acceptance from her church after having spent years living with her partner but hiding the true nature of their relationship. Author E.S. Ruete tells a difficult story with compassion and bursts of eloquence.
Read my full review at Review: Off Season
I think the quote means that ultimately humans are a moral people who understand and wish for goodness. Given time and encouragement, they will grow in that direction much as a plant grows towards the sun…
No single event ended segregation, no one protest stopped the Vietnam war. But over years, the hatred behind racism and the futility of needless conflicts fell out of favor with mainstream American, and differences were made. Perhaps too little. Certainly too slowly. But it was undeniably better than if there had been no progress at all.
Read the entire post at Moments and Movements
You see, there are a lot of places in this world I want to go. Many of them do not interest my husband at all. Relatives and friends may be persuaded to go to some of these with me, but hey, I don’t think I’ve got anyone who wants to see Kyrgyzstan as bad as I do.
Read more thoughts on solo journeys at Woman traveling alone.
(For more on my trip to Peru see What you don’t know …. has the power to amaze you and History at its most exciting.)
Rescue workers the world over had come to know Olumiji as the tall, thin Nigerian man who showed up after earthquakes, mudslides and tsunamis to offer assistance, and who had an uncanny ability to find barely alive souls in the wreckage. He stayed out of their way and asked for nothing in return, so most wrote him off as a harmless oddball. Some speculated that he may have lost a loved one himself long ago in a natural disaster. In a way they were right.
Read more at Outraged by the day-to-day fears endured by more than half of his fellow humans.
More likely it was the goofy boots and lasso I saw as a young girl. This modernized Wonder Woman had a faintly Texas air about her, and I wasn’t big on cowboy stories. Was I judging her by her appearance? Sadly, yes. I didn’t know much else about her, though, because although I read comics and watched superheroes on TV, somehow her stories were never there. Her image was all I had.
Then I became a teen-aged feminist, and Wonder Woman became a sex object. Well, not totally I’m sure, but her outward appearance took a sharp turn, so once again I wasn’t interested in her. I preferred my heroes not to look like that they were prepared to do a lap dance in some sort of kinky bondage strip club.
Read more at Top Requirement for a Superhero.
(For more Wonder Woman inspired thoughts, see Believe, It’s About What You Believe, I believe in appreciating those who protect us. All of them, and Believe in Tomorrow.)
Ten years later I headed off to college to major in journalism. I didn’t particularly want to write for a newspaper, and in fact was poorly suited to asking anyone questions they didn’t want to answer. But I wanted to be independent and fiery and have adventures, you know, so even though I’d long since stopped caring about either of my heroes, I landed in their profession. Go figure.
I suppose it’s a good thing that Major Astro didn’t run Wonder Woman features or I might have joined the army instead.
Read the full post at And that’s the way it was, June 30, 1940.
(For more segments about June days from long ago, see That’s the Way It Was June 10, 1947, June 15, 1984, June 18, 1972, and June 28, 1888.)a
I have always believed that having no real choice about what you can do is the very definition of misery. The essence of happiness is the freedom to choose the alternative you believe is best. You may choose to defer your happiness, or to forego it altogether to aid or please another. You may choose to do something difficult; you may choose to take a nap. When circumstances beyond anyone’s control give you a lousy set of choices, that might make what you pick all the more valuable to you.
Read more at Choice. A good thing?
I’ve been a feminist since I was a teenager; longer than that if you consider wanting to be the chief science officer on the star ship Enterprise as a sign of early feminism. And yet, like other like-minded authors of speculative fiction, I struggle with feminism in my writing.
Read the entire post at Am I writing sexist science fiction?
This is a post about Aretha Franklin and wearing a hijab and my mother’s funeral, and it comes to you from a cafe in Marrakesh Morocco.
I’m staring out the window at the crowds of tourists and locals crossing a busy street in front of the Koutoubia Mosque as I write. I’m alone in this city, far out of my comfort zone, and I’ve just ordered my first couscous. I settle into the ornate red pillows, ready for a genuine Moroccan experience, when I recognize the unmistakable voice of Aretha Franklin in the background.
Now I like Aretha as much as anyone and maybe more than most, but she is kind of getting in my way here, and it’s not even one of her better songs. I listen more closely and I feel the ghost of my mother snuggle into the pillows beside me.
Read the entire post on my c3 blog at “My Way.”
Is a course of action better if it results in less harm? Most people would say yes, at least until they are confronted with the reality of the choices made by those who struggle to improve the world without making it perfectly right.
What am I talking about here? Well, drug addiction and educating women in Afghanistan and preventing pedophiles from molesting children and female genital mutilation and pretty much everything else I’d rather not discuss or think about. It turns out that there is a lot of icky stuff in the world, and it’s hard to make it any of it go away.
Read the rest of this post on my x0 blog at Do Less Harm.
Like almost everything you can imagine, and a whole lot of things you can’t, it exists on the internet. The same wonderful, amazing tool that fuels my stories by letting me see locations I’ll never visit and open doors into the minds of others I will never meet, also allows me to find voices that repulse and frighten me. In fact, it allows me to find them easily.
Read the entire post on my c3 blog at One Great Idea From the Misogynist Wing of the Alt Right
A couple of months ago I wrote about March as Women’s History month, and the corresponding wealth of sites celebrating songs that empower women. Buzz Feed, The BoomBox, and vh1 all had their lists complete with best lines from the song, the reason the song is great, and a video to enjoy. I concatenated the lists together to create my own mega celebration of female power.
However, I felt like the songs were mostly recent and in certain popular genres. The only one that could be considered an oldie was the all time classic “Respect” by Aretha Franklin.
Read the rest of this post at Because she could …. on my c3 blog.
Not sure when women got March as Women’s History month, but I’m glad they did. Her story isn’t told nearly as often as history. It is a little surprising, though, that along with this attempt to add more balance to our knowledge of the past, there is suddenly a wealth of sites celebrating songs that empower women. Buzz Feed offers 17 Empowering Songs By Female Artists To Boost Your Self-Esteem, The BoomBox has 20 songs to celebrate the superwoman in you, and vh1 has The 15 Greatest Girl Power Anthems. Each site features best lines from the song, the reason the song is great, and a video to enjoy.
I thought it was interesting that only three songs showed up twice. The honors go to “Independent Women” by Destiny’s Child, “Stronger” by Britney Spears and the all time classic “Respect” by Aretha Franklin. It is worth checking out all three sites, but if you are just curious which songs were chosen, an alphabetical list of all 49 songs is at the end of this post.
Read the entire post on my c3 blog at “Because I Can”.
My friends always asked. Did he get you flowers? Take you out to dinner? Somewhere romantic? My answer was always a slightly sad no.
My friends would sigh. “It wouldn’t have hurt him to at least, maybe, bought you a single rose or something.” No, it probably wouldn’t have. But I knew that I was sending out mixed signals. I was one of those girls who was usually in a relationship, and with the kind of boy who thought Valentine’s Day was stupid. Not surprising, really, given my own independent beliefs. Still, why couldn’t he make one tiny exception and buy me some dark chocolate? Then I would have had had something to tell my friends. Besides, I like dark chocolate a lot.
Read the original post, written just after valentine’s day this year, at A feminist looks back at Valentine’s Day on my c3 blog.
We do like beautiful women. As a society, we buy products from them, watch movies staring them, and we lavish attention upon them. But I’m a glass half-full kind of lady, and I see some positive trends in all the various recently released lists of top women from 2015.
Read the full post on my c3 blog at The Women of 2015: Beauty matters but so does so much more.
Clearly doctors were not in the habit of attending births in those days, but midwives were. It’s hard to believe that a woman with no sexual experience and an older bachelor, who might well have been a virgin, too, managed to deliver their first child together without incident. My guess is that somebody sent for a midwife, and the story of the woman who delivered baby Jesus would have made a great addition.
Read the entire post at The Women of Christmas.
I am outside of a bar in Evergreen Colorado. It is biting, winter-mountain cold. Closing time has passed, the glasses have been cleared and the bar wiped down. That’s the drab part of cocktail waitressing. I grab my coat, and the late hour and brisk wind hurry me towards my little rented place across the road.
This is one of my favorite blog posts ever. Read the full story at Choosy?
When you read a book of fiction written decades ago, you steel yourself for possible sexism, racism and general intolerance. You accept that the hero will likely be a tall, non-elder, physically fit and able, straight white male possibly assisted by inferior but lovable sidekicks from other demographic groups. I’ve listened to many a lively discussion about how much slack a writer from days past is entitled to before the enlightened reader of today gets tired of the stereotypes and throws down the book.
Read the rest of my post at I know sexism when I see it?
Is my goal supposed to be to date a boy who goes to West Point? The AP writer seems to think so. Hopeful young women looking for a foot in the door are encouraged to contact the Cadet Hostess at West Point to see if they, too, might be included in one of the arranged mixers held throughout the year. I’m not convinced this approach is for me.
Read my entire reaction to the 1968 Women’s Section of the Wichita Eagle at Long Way, Baby.
March 8 was International Women’s Day. On my x0 blog I wrote about a report by Maria Shriver that noted that in the U.S. (1) Nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women, (2) The average woman is paid 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, and African American women earn only 64 cents and Hispanic women only 55 cents for every dollar made by a white man and (3) men make more money than women who have the same level of educational achievement, from high school diplomas to advanced graduate degrees.
You can read my original post on the X0 blog called Poverty is sexist.
I praised the group One for encouraging Chancellor Angela Merkel to select women’s economic empowerment as one of the key issues for the 2015 agenda at the G7 summit meeting being held in Germany.
Well, the summit has come and gone, and I was delighted to read recently that Angela Merkel did include women’s economic empowerment as one of those key issues. The G7 committed to “increasing the number of women and girls in developing countries receiving technical and vocational training through G7 measures by one third by 2030”, noted the need to improve working conditions that allow women and men to balance family life and employment, and agreed to the G7 Principles on Women’s Entrepreneurship including encouraging girls’ participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. More broadly, the G7 stated support for UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, and encouraged companies around the world to incorporate them into their practices.
High level conferences such as this don’t yield immediate policy changes anywhere, much less immediate results. None-the-less by placing a focus on the disproportionate financial burdens placed on women throughout the world, the G-7 summit took a step in the right direction. Good news is good.