Pick One

According to the COVID numbers coming out of the White House COVID-19 has plateaued in the US, despite the fact that 8 states had record setting case increases this past week including my own state. However, the plateau is part of the reason we know it’s safe for kids to return to school. Yet, I awoke yesterday morning to this tweet from POTUS:

Two things instantly come to mind: The numbers are a lie and he knows it, but won’t admit it and the pandemic is not in a plateau. If it’s not safe to have an election, it isn’t safe to send kids, teachers, and staff to school.

The second thing: Vladimir Putin already did this in 2020. He is now president of Russia until 2036 via emergency order to cancel Russian presidential elections until 2036 or until he dies, whichever happens first due to crisis.

Furthermore, the US has had mail in election ballots since 1864. Why only in the 2010s has mail-in voting become prone to corruption and voter fraud? I mean, I’m a historian and I had never heard of widespread voter fraud via mail in ballot in the US before 2016 despite it being around for 150 years at that point. Also, as a disabled Missourian my 2019 application to vote by mail was rejected due to lack of cause, which is interesting since I can’t drive and I don’t live in city limits. I have no idea how millions of people are committing voter fraud via mail-in ballot when I can’t even get approved to vote by mail despite a doctor’s note and notarized copies of my voter ID.

The point is; either the White House is lying and COVID is not plateauing (which is something a dictator not a president would do – look at the unreliability of case numbers coming out of China and Russia who have lifetime presidents) and sending our kids back to school is a terrible idea as a result or canceling US elections in 2020 is a power grab on the same lines as what Vladimir Putin did earlier this year.


My pain medication detox continues. I occasionally gain tolerance to my pain medication at an alarming rate. That was happening in July, so I went off the medication. I’m always shocked when someone tells me a single 5mg hydrocodone lasts them 6 hours or more. I do good to get 2 hours of relief out of one. And from time to time, I have to go off them completely for a relatively lengthy amount of time so that they work properly again.

Unfortunately, this means trying to tough it out and just tolerate the pain in my hand, forearm, hip, and tailbone. Being in pain makes me tired, grumpy, and argumentative. More so than normal. Therefore, I’m also detoxing from social media.

I’ve worked a bit during this detox session, but since I am easily distracted and tired it hasn’t been terribly productive. I’ll be back in August.

Until then, premium content is scheduled through August 12th, you don’t need to worry about that. And until then, stay safe.

Dysfunctional Dreams Rough Outline

This week’s premium content is the rough outline for Dysfunctional Dreams. And it will be obvious why I can’t release my outlines prior to the book releasing.

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The box below is for yearly subscribers. I have to put a couple lines of text here or it deletes it. So, now I have to ramble to ensure that the second box isn’t removed. Hopefully, this is enough.

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Cardiac Health

Well, I got the imagining results back and much to my surprise, it isn’t as bad as I expected.

The good news: my heart isn’t backwards and none of my valves are quadleaflet (has 4 flaps) and none of my valves show signs of stenosis (hardening) or degradation. All my ventricles are the correct size and are working fine.

The not so great, but also not surprising: I have a 1.1cm aortic aneurysm in my thoracic cavity. It isn’t dangerous until it gets 5cms or larger and we caught it when I was very young, which means we just need to monitor it. I have one valve in my vena cava (the largest vein associated with the heart) that isn’t working properly. It leaks a little bit while resting due to it not closing correctly. Most likely it is congenital and not a big deal… it may need to be replaced eventually.

We’ll have to wait on the stress test imaging to know more. However, if the valve leak increases dramatically after I run on a treadmill eventually may come sooner than we expect. The good news about the valve replacement is it isn’t “open heart” surgery. They go in through the ribs on the left side. It is a much faster recovery time, despite not being “same day” surgery.

Furthermore, the stress test will reveal any blockages (which I know I have because I have angina) and it will reveal just how badly the valve leaks. And that part of it has been scheduled for early August. I’m still having issues with statins. Although, it would be better for me if I could find one that doesn’t cause me vertigo because unfortunately, I just produce too much cholesterol (both good and bad).

So, that’s where we are at.

D&R Character Sketches Supporting Characters Part 1

It’s time to get to the real supporting cast of D&R Myrna, Donnelly, Eric, Nyleena, and Trevor. I considered doing the Clachan Clan as a single post, but Trevor is every bit as important and a family member as any of those that share blood with Aislinn Cain. I included Donnelly and Eric in this group because they haunt Aislinn and have more impact than the living sister-in-law Elle or the niece Cassie and nephew Kyle.

One thing you’ll notice is that I don’t remember Trevor’s last name. I know it was given in Anonymous, but I couldn’t find it. I’ve shared my series bibles with Krissy Smith who has a side business building book and series bibles. Eventually, she’ll fill it in for me… until then I know he has a different last name than Lucas, but I don’t remember what it was exactly (and his family even has a federal building named after them).

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Bright and early Monday morning, I went to the hospital for my rescheduled stress test. Or at least, I was supposed to. I made it to the appointment just fine, but there was a snafu with the paperwork and the appointment ended up being for an echo and an ultrasound of my aorta.

I still need the stress test, but the other stuff is now done. The only thing I know from the ultrasounds at this moment is that my heart isn’t backwards. Meaning I don’t know about my aortic valve or any aneurysms yet. These are two concerns for me, as my mother has multiple aneurysms (weakened aortic wall syndrome) and my father’s valve defect is hereditary and his was asymptomatic.

Anway, I still need to have the stress test done. All I can say for it is that it will happen eventually.

The Modern Woman In Books

I have to get this off my chest. I am so frustrated with the portrayal of the modern woman in books. There are three types and I am so over them. Which is a problem because I like books with female leads.

There’s the nitwit, the romantic, and the Unlikable One. Don’t worry, I have examples of all of them.

The nitwit is completely incompetent and nearly everything wrong in her life is her own fault. My examples for this are Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich) and Betsy Taylor (Mary Janice Davidson).

The romantic usually has a demanding career that she loves, but secretly yearns to be swept off her feet. Think Lindsey Boxer (James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club) and Kay Scarpetta (Patricia Cornwell).

The unlikeable female lead is severely emotionally damaged and usually has a mountain of secrets. To some degree Aislinn Cain is this type of female lead. Another example is Nora Pennington (Ellery Adams) and Jane Hawk (Dean Koontz).

I don’t feel any of these types of characters are realistic snapchats of the modern woman. Why does Lindsey Boxer need a man to make her feel like her life is fulfilled? She’s great at her job and has great friends. The problem with all these women is that in many ways, they are all unhappy. I’m left asking why isn’t Lindsey and Kay enough for themselves? Why do they need an external person to make them feel happy? Why does Betsy and Stephanie constantly whine that things aren’t their fault when it’s obvious to everyone that everything wrong is their fault? And finally, why hasn’t Nora and Jane made an appointment with a therapist to deal with their feelings and start moving forward with their lives… truly moving forward not just running away?

I mean, why can’t any of these women be happy? Perhaps my sample size is weird, but I find most of my female friends to be happy people. They are happy with themselves and with their lives. They aren’t constantly making excuses for the disasters in it and searching for someone to complete them nor so emotionally damaged they are stuck in the past.

Which made me realize something else; there is a reason I read Pride & Prejudice and the Miss Marple books over and over again. The women are happy. Elizabeth admits her own shortcomings, she is witty, intelligent, competent, capable, and while she’s a bit stuck in life and only a good marriage will keep her from becoming someone’s governess or house maid, she doesn’t aspire to a good marriage simply because she doesn’t want to be those things. She is determined to marry for love, real love, but if she never finds it, she never finds it and she will take care of all of Jane and Bingley’s children and be just as happy. In Miss Marple’s case; she is capable, competent, never chased after a man desiring his affection and attention. She wanted to be appreciated for all her capabilities and when she didn’t find a man to do that, she realized it was better to grow old alone than marry for comfort and risk her happiness. And she loves her amatuer career and finds fulfillment in it.

I don’t know why there aren’t more female characters like this. Especially in modern books. Isn’t finding happiness in yourself part of being a modern woman? Also, while I realize plenty of women have baby rabies, I also know not every woman does and you are just as likely to find a woman who doesn’t want a bunch of children these days. So why do so many women in books pine for children, marriage, the white picket fence, and the role of stay-at-home mom?

The problem with my writing one of these characters is that I tend not to read my own books. I get distracted by the plot lines and feel the need to rewrite the book.