Sunday, August 31, 2008

Thoughts About Sarah Palin

Friday morning I accompanied a good friend to an imaging center as her "bosom buddy." While waiting for her test, we sat a comfortable waiting room (cookies to die for) and watched, in awe, as Senator McCain announced that Gov. Sarah Palin would be his running mate. Another patient, who'd been waiting longer than us, filled us in:

"She's 44, has 5 children, the youngest is 4 months old with Down Syndrome." The smile froze on my face, and I barely heard the rest, about Palin's pipeline views, Alaskan home state, son being deployed to Iraq, NRA connections, etc. I was stuck on the fact that a woman with 5 kids--one a Down's baby--would knowingly put herself on the path to the White House. Excuse me, but why does one have a bunch of children and then choose an intense life in politics? I know that I had my precious boys and girl so that I could raise them, not someone else.

Am I being harsh? Does anyone else think this is sad?
I might add that I am not a supporter of either McCain or Obama at this point. I was, at first, gleeful to hear that a woman was in the running, hence the aforementioned smile. But as a mother, I know that being one demands more than I ever expected, so much that I cannot fathom trying to juggle motherhood with the intensity of so high a political position.

Someone mentioned, perhaps her husband is a homebody and will care for them. Maybe so. In Washington, he would likely give up oil working and fishing and stay home with the children.

Maybe I am being sexist. What is different about a woman with children taking a public office position than a man taking a similar post? Maybe nothing, for some.

I'm sure Mrs. Palin and her family gave a great deal of thought to her choice. I have to hope that her teen daughters (Bristol, 17, and Willow, 14) feel competent to help raise their disadvantaged baby sibling, Trig, 4 months, and little sister Piper, 7. After all, they are making it work now, with Governor Palin returning to her job just 3 days after Trig's birth in April. She's nothing if not devoted to her work.

Perhaps, like many, she is just trying to have it all. To her credit, she chose not to end her baby's life when told he had the extra chromosome. She is devoutly pro-life, and while it might have made it easier on her future to terminate the pregnancy, she did not. For this I hold her in high regard.

One other thing. Because I was sitting in a room full of women, I noticed that without exception, Mrs. Palin's family situation was the first thing that came in to each of our minds. Not one mentioned her qualifications for the job.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bank of Books Welcomes Anne Carter!

Well, tomorrow I am presenting a workshop/talk on Writing Romance at the Bank of Books in Ventura, CA. Bookstore owner Clarey Rudd is most graciously hosting my appearance at his charming indy store, and I look forward to the visit! In the photo to the left is my good friend and fellow author, Michael Mehas of STOLEN BOY fame, the story of the youngest man ever to be given the death penalty, and Mr. Rudd, enjoying our sunny So Cal weather! I will be bringing handouts, candy and maybe even cookies to my afternoon of sharing romance writing tips with up-and-coming authors. Stop by if you're in the neighborhood!

What else is new? I've just finished my submission story for Sisters In Crime/LA's next anthology, "Murder in La La Land" and I'll be crossing all fingers and toes that it gets accepted. A writer could do a lot worse than be associated with this fun and talented group of writers! Wish I could tell you about my story, but mum's the word - it's a blind submission, and you don't know who might be listening! Er, reading.

My local fellow author, teen romance writer Alyssa Montgomery, has a new release out this month. MR. MYSTERIOUS is about three friends - two girls and a boy - who suffer through one of the girls' crush on a mystery boy, and a magical night they all share as everyone finds out just who Mr. "M" is! This short fiction ebook is available in PDF format at QuakeMe and will soon be selling at Fictionwise in multiple formats.

September will be a busy month, as I have an important graduation to attend, a trip to Vegas, book/author fairs in both Santa Barbara and West Hollywood, CA, and my own mid-month birthday! Whew!

Maybe I'd better go take a nap.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Crime Unto One's Self

I had planned to begin my new series today, where I will be blogging about some very strong, entertaining and philanthropic women I laud. However, having just attended the funeral of a friend, I need to slide back just a little and talk about something that has me so steaming mad I can barely see to type.

As I think about it, Brandi was a very strong, entertaining and philanthropic woman herself. Since my purpose today is not eulogize this lovely, generous woman, I won't go into all the beautiful things that made up the "dash" in her all-too-short life of forty years. But because it's pertinent, I will tell you that Brandi had the BRCA 1 mutation gene--and endured 5 years of metastatic cancers. Despite elective, prophylactic surgeries, this insidious disease stole her life two weeks ago, leaving a huge contingent of heartbroken, grieving friends and relatives.

The services were at once loving and poignant. Brandi was the consummate volunteer, often putting aside her own pain and despair in order to help others. The church was filled with those whose lives she had touched. The legacy Brandi left us was one of hope, and a challenge to live our lives better through appreciation of each day and our own approaching mortality. I'm sure I wasn't alone in my silent promise that I would do better, live healthier, love stronger and make every day count.

With these thoughts still stirring my emotions, a wet tissue clamped into the palm of my hand, I walked across the parking lot en route to my car, exchanging comforting words and nods with others I passed. Yet as I neared my car, I spotted a woman two slots over with her hands held up to her face. At first I thought she was hiding her tears, like many others had done throughout the service. But on closer look, I discovered the unthinkable. This mourner was lighting a cigarette.

I literally shuddered with anger. My emotional state made it quite impossible to rein in my overpowering feelings of disgust and loathing. She was neither young nor old, seemed to have full mental faculties and otherwise appeared healthy. Why, I always ask myself, would anyone suck caustic, burning smoke into their fragile, oxygen-hungry lungs?

Did I mention that my mother succumbed to lung cancer? That she smoked for close to 60 years?

The woman in the parking lot had just come from an auditorium full of people who would give anything to have Brandi back. Brandi, who'd not smoked a day in her life. A woman who, by the luck (bad luck) of the draw, had been tagged with a bad bit of DNA. She'd done everything right. This woman has a choice, and she chooses to continue smoking "coffin nails" when she could opt for a smoke-free, and possibly cancer-free, life.

Cancer may be a monster, and one we are unable to control--at least for the time being. Nicotine addiction is also a monster, and one we can control. No, I've never smoked, and yes, I do understand about the strength of the addiction. Still, I believe--Brandi's mantra--I believe that people have the ability to take responsibility for their own health and give themselves the best possible odds against encouraging the growth of cancer cells.

All I can hope right now is that this parking lot smoker is thinking, strongly, about quitting before it's too late. Ditto for the teens I see outside the Mall, puffing away as if, AS IF! as if it is actually cool to smoke. I wonder how cool they will feel when they are unable to draw a breath.

Friday, August 22, 2008

E-Books: Cheaper Than Gas!

My Summer '08 newsletter is out, headlined with an article about how you could buy an Amazon Kindle for about the same price as a month's worth of gasoline. Read it at .

I haven't tried the Kindle yet. I have held the Sony reader in my hands, loved the shape and feel and weight of it, which I believe is similar to the Kindle. I'm still not completely sold, however, since I read in the dark and rely on my Pocket PC's backlight feature. With either of these upper end e-readers, you'll need a clamp on booklight to read in bed.

So what's on my wish list? Along with the aforementioned readers, I'm thinking hard about the web-and-email enabled Samsung Instinct phone, and I'm also in the market for a hands-free Bluetooth device for my car. I can't stand the fussiness of the ear-pod thing.

Would love to hear what devices you all have!