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Be sure to stop by my author page from time to time

In the meantime, while you're here, pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee or a cuppa tea, have a piece of pie and always feel free to speak your mind, and your heart, here at Meanderings and Muses.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Dear Conservative Family and Friends,



To my conservative family and friends: You have been given a gift. 

The gift is this: Your guy won, your team has the house and the senate. 

And it's going ... not great. 

My charge to you is this: figure out how you want to be represented in history. You are on the cusp of being the party that rose up and fought for what you told us you stood for, or you can be the people we have to explain to our children when they ask why no one fought the breakdown of our democracy.


If you voted for the president or a Republican senator because you believe in fiscal conservatism, you should be furious that your tax dollars are going to build a wall that will have zero impact on the effects of immigration.

If you hate the left because of "Political Correctness," you need to be asking yourself if you're okay with the President censoring communications from MULTIPLE government organizations like the National Park Service, the EPA and more.

If you voted because you hated Secretary Clinton's email server, I expect you to be calling your representatives to ask why Steve Bannon and others continue to use their unsecured personal emails and why your president is using an unsecured android device still.


If you voted because you believed there would be better protection against terrorists, you need to ask yourself why it's okay that your president just took away $130 million in anti-terror funds from New York with his punishment of Sanctuary Cities.

If you are angry that your insurance is too expensive, you should ask why your senators are repealing ACA without a replacement, an action that will leave 20 million people without insurance at all.

If you believe the Clinton initiative provided unequal treatment to countries that supported their foundation, you should be livid that your president has moved to block visas from Muslim countries like Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, but not places where he has business ties like Egypt, Qatar, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

This is an opportunity to prove that you voted for the reasons you say you did. I am taking you seriously; I am taking you literally." 

~Levi Frerichs

The Ban - FactCheck.org


"Trump’s comparison of his immigration actions to Obama’s policy in 2011 is a faulty one. The fact is that the Obama administration was responding to a known and specific threat from one country and limited its response to refugees from that country, while Trump’s order temporarily bans refugees from all countries — indefinitely in the case of those from Syria — and temporarily bars all other visitors from seven predominately Muslim countries."

This from FactCheck.Org, which I wish more people were familiar with.

http://www.factcheck.org/2017/01/trumps-faulty-refugee-policy-comparison/

New Annabelle Pictures



This little bundle of fur will be coming home to live with us next week.

How cute is this baby?!



Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Land of the Free?!




Pffftttt  

We are now the land of greed and hypocrisy.  

It's only going to get worse.



































Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Announcing the 2016 Agatha Nominees




Offering my most sincere congratulations to all the nominees!!!

The Agatha Awards will be presented on April 29, 2017, at the Malice Banquet. 
Winners in each category will be decided via onsite ballot by the attendees of Malice 29.  


Best Contemporary Novel
Body on the Bayou by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson (Midnight Ink)
A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
Fogged Inn by Barbara Ross (Kensington)
Say No More by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)
Best Historical Novel
Whispers Beyond the Veil by Jessica Estevao (Berkley)
Get Me to the Grave on Time by D.E. Ireland (Grainger Press)
Delivering the Truth by Edith Maxwell (Midnight Ink)
The Reek of Red Herrings by Catriona McPherson (Minotaur Books)
Murder in Morningside Heights by Victoria Thompson (Berkley)
Best First Novel
Terror in Taffeta by Marla Cooper (Minotaur)
Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon (Henery Press)
The Semester of Our Discontent by Cynthia Kuhn (Henery Press)
Decanting a Murder by Nadine Nettmann (Midnight Ink)
Design for Dying by Renee Patrick (Forge Books)
Best Nonfiction
Mastering Suspense, Structure, and Plot: How to Write Gripping Stories that Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats by Jane K. Cleland (Writer's Digest Books)
A Good Man with a Dog: A Game Warden's 25 Years in the Maine Woods by Roger Guay with Kate Clark Flora (Skyhorse Publishing)
Sara Paretsky: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction by Margaret Kinsman (McFarland Books)
Best Short Story
"Double Jinx: A Bellissimo Casino Crime Caper Short Story" by Gretchen Archer (Henery Press)
"The Best-Laid Plans" by Barb Goffman in Malice Domestic 11: Murder Most Conventional (Wildside Press)
"The Mayor and the Midwife" by Edith Maxwell in Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon Anthology 2016 (Down & Out Books)
"The Last Blue Glass" by B.K. Stevens in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine
"Parallel Play" by Art Taylor in Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning (Wildside Press)
Best Children/Young Adult
Trapped: A Mei-hua Adventure by P.A. DeVoe (Drum Tower Press)
Spy Ski School by Stuart Gibbs (Simon & Schuster)
Tag, You're Dead by J C Lane (Poisoned Pen Press)
The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos (Balzer & Bray)
The Secret of the Puzzle Box: The Code Busters Club by Penny Warner (Darby Creek)




Monday, January 23, 2017

January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC





In the post immediately before this, I told you all why I was going to DC to march.

What I did not tell you is how it was really a day to day, minute to minute thing.

It won't be a secret for some of you who know me well, although some of you will find it a little hard to believe.

My friend Gina Gilmore shared this on my FB page and struck home, I must say.






Here's a little story.

When I returned home from DC, I asked Don Barley if he was proud of me for marching.  He said he was, of course, proud of me.  Always.  (He is such a good husband  😊 ).   He asked if I was proud of myself, and I said, "yes, of course."

He then said to me, "you should be proud of yourself for just getting on that bus. I know that was hard." 

Y'all. 

Really? 


Really.


That was THE hardest thing. A bus full of people I didn't know. 

If it had not been for the fact that I knew our friends Amber Dollyhigh-Kwong and Pat Taylor were going to be there, I could very easily at the very last minute changed my mind and not gone. 

Introverts may not always strike you as your version of what you think an introvert is, but believe me, we come in all disguises. 

So, yes. I am SO proud of myself for getting on that bus that it makes me cry.


One thing that helped also is that I got on the bus with names of several friends who weren't able to be in DC.

Some of them were marching elsewhere, some unable to march.

So, ALL of these people went to DC with me - in my pocket.  And I was comforted by having them along.





We, the women from the Facebook Group Pantsuit Nation, Boone/Western NC, pulled out of the WalMart parking lot in Boone, NC Friday night at midnight.

Almost immediately, the adventure began.

We broke down.

But.

After a few minutes, things seem to right themselves..

(Do not ask me - I have no idea how bus things work.  But in this case, the age old fix seemed to be to turn it off, then turn it back on. Voilà!).


And then, about an hour later, on the other side of Wilkesboro, it happened again.

This time it took a little longer for things to right themselves.


But.

Right themselves, they did.


Our driver, who was great, kept us informed and kept in touch with the bus headquarters. 


He let us know they were looking for a different bus, but wanted to make sure we were all okay and willing to keep going.

The response was a resounding YES!


So we kept going.


Then.


Then we got stopped for about 40 minutes behind a bad accident waiting for it to be cleared. 


Then we changed over to our new bus outside of Greensboro. So. Running a little behind schedule, but everyone remained in good spirits.


I tried to go to sleep, but I managed to only doze a little off and on.  


And then, it seemed like just all of a sudden, we were at our final rest stop before getting into DC.

The rush was on for hairbrushes and toothbrushes.

The Bus was awake and rocking to Aretha's RESPECT.


Someone, and I am determined to find out who, played what I do believe was THE perfect playlist for going and coming back from the march.






On our drive into DC and to RFK Stadium, in addition to seeing iconic monuments, we saw more buses than I could have imagined.  

And it wasn't hard to tell they were filled with women who were, like us, going to march.

The pink hats helped.

We saw women walking, arm in arm. 

We saw women walking with their children.

Walking with their partners.

We saw men pushing baby strollers, many of whom were proudly sporting pink hats.



All good.

I did not see one instance of discord, did not encounter a single rude person.

We walked the two plus miles from RFK Stadium along beautiful Capitol Hill to the rally point at Independence and 3rd.







I am SO proud to have been a part of it.  And tickled to have my friend Pat Taylor to experience it with.


me and Pat Taylor



Here are some random pictures, along with more of my thoughts about the day.  












Most of the wonderful old brownstones we passed on our walk had signs in their yards with MLK quotes.

Many of the residents stood at their front doors and waved.

It was especially moving to see some mothers with babies on their hips waving at us.  They knew we were marching for those babies.


Pat and I stopped and had some breakfast and much needed coffee and were still having a hard time believing we were really there.

Amazing.

That's what we kept saying to one another.

Amazing.

There was a sea of people in front of us.

A sea of people behind us.

Amazing.









































































Once we reached the rally point, we learned that was as far as we'd be going.  The news guy showed us pictures of the streets from where we were standing beyond the White House and they were full.  

The originally estimated crowd of 200,000 had grown to approximately 500,000.

Too many people to march the planned route, so we just spread out and stood.

Peacefully.

Proud to be there.  

And still, every single person we encountered was kind. 

People apologized as they brushed by to move somewhere else.

We smiled at one another.

It was . . .


amazing.


We were not far from the Rally Stage, but honestly? Don't have a clue as to who was up there, or what they were saying.  It wasn't, for me, the point. The sheer numbers of people in those streets protesting peacefully. That was the point.  Although I am a little irritated at myself for not paying attention to catch Gloria Steinem.  dang.












After a couple hours of milling about near the rally point, Pat and I started our walk back to RFK Stadium.













We stopped and had a burger at Good Stuff Eatery (YUM!).  We were able to snag a table and saw, for the first time, pictures and video of the march.

And the marches going on around the world.


And it made me cry.


The number of people marching in DC and everywhere - everywhere!  Can you believe the numbers?! - sent a very loud message. If Trump is too ignorant to get it, Congress certainly should.  

SOMETHING needs to come of the incredibleness (did I just make up a word? or just misspell one?) of January 21st. 

I still have a lot of thoughts to process. 


500,000 of us in DC.  In the middle of the largest one day protest in our history, but I did not get the full impact of that, really, until I saw overhead shots of the crowd on TV.  And I'm still not down from that high.


Continuing our walk back to RFK Stadium to get on our bus, Pat and I could not pass up a little bit of shopping at  Eastern Market which has been on Capitol Hill since 1873.

Nobody loves shopping more than me and Pat.

I wanted to bring something home, of course.

A souvenir to help me remember.

But something other than a TeeShirt.


I found David Kessler.  A local DC artist, and bought this print on canvas.  

It embodies the architecture Pat and I admired and enjoyed on our walk along Capitol Hill.

It wasn't until I was paying for it that Mr. Kessler told me it was a painting of the John Philip Sousa house, which was about two blocks away from where we were.  Cool.






Finally boarding the bus, a little tired, but energized by being a part of something so big - so important, it was hard to believe it was over.

It was time to go home.

And the music was playing.

And there was our incredible play list back again.



Lean on Me.  



Could there have been a more appropriate song on which to end this day? 

The wine was flowing, there was singing, and then we all settled in for quiet conversations, self-reflection and a little sleep.

We got back into Boone about 3 a.m., and I got home about 3:30.

Woke Donald, said, "Hi, Honey, I'm home."

And fell dead asleep.

When I finally woke up sometime around 1 pm Sunday afternoon, I spent some time going through Facebook, reading comments on my posts, and laughed a little and cried a little. 

Thanks for going with me, everyone. You guys are the best and I love you. 


But.

There is much to be done.

And we can't sit back and rest for long.

Stay strong. We can make a difference. We can.

Just remember - 





We're just getting started.