The Rise of Fascism

A friend recently picked my brain on how fascism had arisen with such drastic consequences in Europe in the early 20th century. I explained the rise of Nazism in Germany via email and decided I would explain the rise of the Soviet Union in a blog post. And I may decide to convert my email into a blog post as well, because I think these are important things that need to be understood. There is one thing we need to get crystal clear before I talk about the Soviet Union: The Soviet Union might have claimed to be a socialist government, but it was a fascist dictatorship. There was nothing socialist about it once Stalin got involved, it was completely fascist. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines fascism as a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. In contrast socialism as defined as any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods. Under socialism everyone is “equal” no one, including a leader is more important than the average man.

To understand the rise of the Soviet Union, we have to go back to WWI. The country had been struggling with famine for nearly a decade and rampant poverty for nearly a decade when WWI broke out. In order to save face, Tsar Nicholas sent Russian troops to fight in WWI. Supply lines were practically nonexistent. And there wasn’t enough food to feed troops in battle anyway. This meant the Tsar’s army was ill-equipped for war. Between starving troops that didn’t even have rifles and harsh conditions, the Russian Army was a nightmare. It was so bad somewhere between 1.6 and 2.8 million Russian troops died as a result of WWI, more than any other country in the war. On top of that, another estimated million Russian Civilians died in WWI. And while Russia is a huge country, it does not have a matching population. Losing 3 million or more Russians in WWI was economically and morally devastating. The gap between the rich and poor was massive and it was the poor dying. When the Bolsheviks started vying for a revolution they promised to close the gap between the rich and poor and get Russia out of WWI.

Both of these things sounded great to the general population of Russia. They were destitute and starving, nearly anything sounded like an improvement over the Tsar and the system that had made them this way. However, it wasn’t just the poor and destitute that supported the Bolsheviks. Many nobles, fed up with Tsar Nicholas and Tsarina Alexandra. They joined the Bolshevik cause and with them they brought money and most importantly, they brought factions of the Tsar’s Army to the Bolshevik cause.

Lenin delivered on the Bolshevik promises, he pulled Russia out of WWI and he started bridging the gap between the rich and poor. The first five years or so of Bolshevik Russia were much different than Tsarist Russia. It was also much, much, much different than what Bolshevik Russia would become after Lenin’s death. This is important to note, because it is during this time that socialist clubs began popping up in the US, Britain, Australia, Canada, and other “westernized” countries around the world. Socialism was working at this point in Russia and it wasn’t yet a fascist dictatorship.

That would only happen after Lenin’s death in 1924. No it wasn’t perfect, but no system of government is perfect. The five years of Lenin’s rule is actually what encouraged the constitutional monarchy of Britain and the Republican country of the US to start thinking about adopting socialist programs such as welfare for the poor, salary protection when fired from a job (unemployment insurance), pensions for the old, and nationalized health care. The Great Depression that followed the collapse of Wall Street in 1929 would lead to the adoption of many of these programs by several of the above mentioned countries. Unfortunately, by the time Wall Street collapsed Red Russia was well into its new government style a fascist dictatorship under the control of Stalin.

Now for the big part of why the Soviet Union became the fascist dictatorship most of us grew up with. The answer is Josef Stalin. There is in fact a special sort of fascist dictatorship named Stalinism after the Soviet leader. It’s part government and part cult of personality. It is more dangerous than plain old fascism. The cult of personality revolving around Stalin was so powerful that it convinced even good people to ignore evil in the name of their charismatic leader. Stalin’s dedicated followers loved him so much, they would learn to hate in his name.

By 1931, Stalin and his followers were the minority of the Soviet Population, but crossing them would be deadly. They were willing to kill to protect the ideal that Stalin was the great savior of the Soviet Union. If you didn’t think Stalin was amazing, it was an opinion you kept to yourself, even if you were among intimate friends, because if one of them liked Stalin they would report you and punishment was harsh. If you were really lucky you were ostracized by those around you. If you were semi-lucky they killed you. If you were unlucky you were sent to a Siberian work prison known as a gulag. If you were incredibly unlucky, they sent you and your entire family to a gulag and entire family didn’t always mean you, wife and children…. it could mean you, your wife, your kids, your parents, and your in-laws, and possibly your siblings and their children. In this way Hitler and Stalin learned 2 things really quickly; when it was just the life of a dissenter on the line they would stay defiant, but when you started punishing their entire family for their dissent they shut up and went away.

As global economic depression made life unbearable in the Soviet Union during the 1930s, the cult of Stalin grew stronger. The minority held all the power and all the money. It was a miserable time to be a Russian. There were several attempts to overthrow Stalin, but it’s difficult to fight a zealous minority willing to brutalize you, your family, and everyone you’ve ever known for your transgressions. Stalin’s followers would bully, harass, and threaten dissenters even if the comment was as minor as you didn’t like Stalin’s haircut and Stalin’s followers could be anyone anywhere.

When even saying the leader’s haircut sucks can get your apartment burned to the ground or lose your wife her job, which you desperately need not just for the wages but because it affects the amount of ration coupons you get, you learn to shut the hell up pretty quick. Furthermore, if you end up ostracized for not loving Stalin your kids’ future is up for grabs… they may not be able to attend school or they might be taken from you and rehomed with a family loyal to Stalin. Stalin’s followers believed every word that came out of his mouth. And should they find out something he said was a lie, they made excuses about why he needed to lie.

It was in this way that Stalin was allowed to murder millions of Russians. It’s the holocaust no one talks about, during Stalin’s 28 year rule over the Soviet Union he sent millions to the gulags to die. Even his most trusted advisors and friends could find themselves in the gulags should they criticize him for something. My thesis was actually on this very topic; even in the 1930s when an advisor or friend was sent to the gulags by Stalin, he would have the negative retouched and get a reprinted photo minus the person he’d just sent to be worked to death in the harsh Siberian winters. It was so common, there’s even a name for it.

Stalin built a corrupt authoritarian fascist regime using bribery, dedication to himself, and bullying. It was so effective it got its own name Stalism. No dictator before or since has been so efficient that a style of government was named after them.

General Awfulness

People keep asking me why I have yet to return to social media. It’s because of the general awfulness of people these days. What I’ve been silent about is that since my father passed away in April, I’ve gotten messages from people who are not followers of the Hadena James page telling me to stop perpetuating the myth of COVID being a killer and that my father is probably fine and dandy, helping me laugh at all the stupid people that really believe he died.

My father didn’t die of COVID. He died of heart disease. It wasn’t even COVID related, his test was negative. At no time is the six months since he died have I ever said his death was due to COVID. Yet, people want to accuse me of saying it and people want to tell me I’m obviously lying. How fucked up is that?

Within minutes of posting on social media that I had mailed back my ballot, I got a message from someone with a Trump/Pence 2020 avatar that told me they hoped I went to prison for my voter fraud? Obviously, this person doesn’t even understand what voter fraud is. I would also say it’s a safe bet they don’t know me or anything about me. Because I have talked at length this year about being diagnosed with heart disease and having a legitimate reason to absentee vote. Yet, because I used mail in balloting they automatically assume it was voter fraud, which isn’t how that works.

There have been people that took offense at The Dysfunctional Chronicles since I started publishing because Zeke and Nadine are an interracial couple, but I’ve always chalked that up to stupidity rather than a desire to be awful to another human being just because.

This year, I have learned people want to be awful to other people just because. And for some reason, Donald Trump has given them the excuse to do so. I know not every Trump supporter is a dick just because, but it has been my experience this year, that all those awful, hateful, rude, asshole messages have come from Trump supporters (I always have to stalk their page before I report them).

I even got a message from someone telling me they were glad my father had died. Um, seriously what the fuck? I rarely even open the HJ mailbox on the Facebook page anymore because I worry about what awful things are going to be in it.

Here’s the thing; I know my readers are wonderful. I know I’m gonna get a lot of comments telling me to ignore those assholes and that my readers are so sorry. But it isn’t the fault or problem of my readers that people are like this. Which is why I haven’t written this post, which probably should have been written months ago, to explain my absence. But I didn’t want them to empathize or sympathize or feel like they somehow had a role in this madness, because they haven’t.

I keep hoping it gets better and I check the page or mailbox after a week of not posting and find the problem still exists. So, I disappear again. And I just keep wondering “What has happened to us?” What has happened to us as a society, where we now feel it’s okay to tell someone we hope they go to jail because we don’t take the time to understand what a phrase or law actually is? What has happened to us to make us think it’s okay to tell someone they are glad someone close to them died? What has happened to make us think shouting “N*gger go home” at a 12 year-old girl is okay? If I was religious, I might start to wonder if perhaps this is happening because the end of days are here and the antichrist has risen.

I also wonder if I was just blind to the hatred we had for our fellow Americans before now? Not just based on race, because I’ve always known that existed… But unfettered hatred for our fellow Americans for every single difference and now for the last 4 years, it’s been acceptable to let the hate flow out loud, so I’ve noticed? Or is it because I don’t support hate that now I’m a target and there are people out there who really are glad my father died, because it gave them the ability to bully me away from social media? Because nothing ever said to me has hurt like being told by some random stranger that they were glad my father died.

I don’t know how many of my readers are actually Trump supporters, I’ve never cared enough to find out. I believe that as Americans we should have different opinions. We should have the right to agree to disagree. We shouldn’t be automatons blindly following leaders. I say this because I want to point out, that my Trump supporting readers have never been awful to me. They aren’t the people sending me awful messages telling me they hope I go to jail, glad my father died, or that they don’t believe my father died and I’m just saying it to perpetuate the COVID hoax. The majority of the time, they are as wonderful, amazing, and supportive as the rest of my readers.

It seems to specifically be “stranger awfulness”, it’s almost as if “stranger danger” is now more real than ever. I have to be wary of profile names I don’t recognize on Facebook, Twitter, or my blog… I have to read blog comments very carefully. I did approve a comment in May that someone else pointed out to me later that day that mentioned “If COVID is real I hope you die.” I don’t know how I missed it, but I did and I had to delete it. The majority of the comment dealt with why I was wrong about my interpretation of President Trump’s response to COVID and it was just tucked neatly into the last paragraph. Not once in 8 years did I ever hope someone that criticized President Obama died. I don’t know why that’s a go to for Trump supporters. But it does seem to be a central theme around the hate mail I get these days: they hope I die, they want me to die, or they are glad someone I love is dead.

Anyway, the point is, that’s why I’ve been avoiding social media. I will probably continue to do so, taking only small bites of it. Of course, right now, it’s because I am super busy, but once everything gets turned over to Findaway Voices for the audiobook scripts, I will still probably struggle to be on social media. I just can’t handle the bullying and hatred. It makes me ill… and unfortunately, readers; while I know it isn’t your fault, I just mentally can’t handle it and you’re affected by my lack of enthusiasm for social media as a result and I know it isn’t fair, but a person can only take so much before they start internalizing it.

Horror Movies List

Here’s a weird little “I’m Still Alive” post. I’m still very busy on Tortured Dreams. But it is coming along nicely. During October, I have been “listening” to horror movies while working. I decided to give you guys a list this week (some of these are decidedly just sci-fi, but you know)

  • Thirteen Ghosts
  • 30 Days of Night
  • Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein
  • Alien
  • Alien Covenant
  • Prometheus
  • Alien Resurrection
  • Aliens
  • Alien 3
  • Battle: Los Angeles
  • Battleship
  • Alien v. Predator
  • Alien v. Predator Requiem
  • The Cabin in the Woods
  • Chronicles of Riddick
  • The Conjuring
  • The Conjuring 2
  • Constantine
  • Cowboys v. Aliens
  • The Crazies
  • Seven
  • Fracture
  • A Cure for Wellness
  • Deep Blue Sea
  • Deep Blue Sea 2
  • Deliver Us From Evil
  • Devil
  • Doom
  • Drive Angry
  • End of Days
  • The Exorcist
  • The Exorcist: The Beginning
  • The Exorcist 2: The Heretic
  • Final Destination
  • Final Destination 2
  • Final Destination 3
  • Final Destination 4
  • Final Destination 5 (which solely exists for gore)
  • The Fourth Kind
  • Freddy v. Jason
  • Friday the 13th (the original)
  • The Frighteners
  • Frozen Ground
  • Halloween (original)
  • Halloween 2
  • The Happening
  • The Haunting in Connecticut
  • Hellraiser
  • Hellraiser 2
  • Hocus Pocus
  • Hotel Transylvania
  • House
  • Independence Day: Resurgence
  • Insidious
  • Insidious 2
  • Insidious 3
  • The Last Witch Hunter
  • Legion
  • Mirrors
  • The Monster Squad
  • A Murder of Crows
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • The Omen (remake)
  • Pacific Rim
  • Pacific Rim: Uprising
  • Pitch Black
  • Practical Magic
  • Priest
  • Predator
  • Predator 2
  • The Predator
  • Predators
  • The Purge
  • The Purge: Anarchy
  • The Purge: Election Year
  • The Raven
  • The Relic
  • Resident Evil
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Resident Evil 3
  • Resident Evil 4
  • Resident Evil 5
  • Riddick
  • Ring
  • Ring Two
  • Rings
  • Sinister
  • Sinister 2
  • Sleepy Hollow
  • Sweeney Todd
  • Solace
  • Stir of Echoes
  • The Thing (new one)
  • The Thing (Old one)
  • Trick or Treat
  • Zodiac

So, I’m about halfway through October and I’ve watched every digital horror movie I own.

It’s Been A Week and I’m Still Angry

I have written this blog post five different times. I’ve deleted the drafts, because I realized afterwards that I was still too angry to blog about it. It’s now been a week. I’m still angry, but I am hoping this attempt goes better. A week ago, I met my 12-year-old neighbor girl. We happened to both be exiting our houses at the same time. She had a puppy on a leash and I had my book bag heading outside to work in the backyard and play with my own dogs. We’ve said hello before, but never really talked. She approached me and asked me the best question ever: “Would you like to meet my new puppy?” Absolutely. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to meet a puppy.

We played in the side yard with Arielle the puppy for a close to ten minutes, which was driving my two girls nuts. I invited the neighbor girl and Arielle the puppy into the backyard to hang out and play. Once inside the fence, I introduced her to my girls and told her my name and she introduced herself: Skye. I expected the visit to last about half an hour, I’m old and the most interesting things about me to a 12-year-old girl are my dogs. However, Skye was enjoying playing with my dogs as well hanging out. A little after 4 in the afternoon, we heard the buses for the school district we live in.

I already knew Skye was going to Columbia Public and they are fully virtual right now. But the school district just north of our neighborhood is not virtual. So I asked the important question, do you want to get back to walking Arielle so she could show her puppy off to her kid friends in the neighborhood. This is where reality smacked me really hard in the face.

Skye told me no, she didn’t want to go show off her puppy to the kids getting off the bus. Skye doesn’t have any friends in our neighborhood. She’s black, they’re white and they won’t play with her. As a matter of fact, Skye and her family aren’t well liked in the neighborhood and she’s actually not supposed to leave her yard because adults driving past her have yelled at her “N*gger go home”. My family is the only one that even speaks to them (we at least say hello every time we see them out) and they have a lovely dog named Rambo who when he escapes his yard beelines over to see my girls. When he does end up at our house, we try to keep him there with love, play, and even treats if we’re desperate. They always know when he’s gotten out and come get him quickly. But we live on a very busy rural highway and I worry about Rambo getting hit by a car, if we don’t keep him at our house when he escapes.

Furthermore, Skye was delightful. We talked about the kind of stuff 12 year-olds and adults talk about sports, school, dogs, etc. She was polite and lovely to talk to. She spent three and half hours at our house, letting the three dogs play and just hanging out. So, despite being a good student, who doesn’t like reading or history, she plays basketball for her middle school as well as for the city youth team, she’s an “undesirable” friend for the other kids in the neighborhood because she’s mixed. That just blows my mind. I told her she, Arielle, and Rambo were always welcome to come play with my dogs or just hang out if she gets bored.

I just can’t believe adults think it’s acceptable to behave like this. It reminded me of my own incident with human stupidity nearly four years ago. A few days after the election in 2016, I was walking to get my mail when some morons in a white truck with a flag in the back window shouted at me “Now that Trump is president, you’ll have to get off your lazy ass and get a job.” What the f*ck? I work from home you morons. I do have a job. I had lived in that area for quite some time and never been accused of being a jobless and gaming the system. Here I am an adult woman just minding my own business and some assholes decide they have the right to be rude and judge me… someone they have never once spoken to about something they know nothing about.

I can’t imagine being 12 and having that happen to me. We need to do and be better as a society. I cannot believe this is supposed to be the “Greatest America” ever. These are hard working Americans… Skye told me her dad was a small business owner, just like her grandfather had been. As a fellow small business owner, I know how hard they have to work. If this America was great, it would not be acceptable to harass people they don’t know as they drive by.

Brain Fried Post

This is sort of a random post. I am sorta brain fried. I am supposed to be working on the first set of edits that Krissy got back to me on Tortured Dreams. But I have an eyelash issue.

I don’t know if the shaft of a single eyelash broke Saturday night or if the eyelash just grew out enough to be bothersome on Saturday night. Either way, it’s one of my upper eyelashes, it should turn up, it’s turning down. Occasionally it touches my eyeball and almost all the time I can see it in my field of vision. I spent some time Saturday night and Sunday morning trying to figure out how to fix the problem, but most suggestions were “leave it alone”. But being in my field of vision, it’s hard to ignore it. Also, it keeps tangling in my bottom lashes and occasionally it touches my eyeball.

Finally, this morning I found an article on WebMD. They said to use an eyelash curler on it. If the shaft is broken, it will break it off or if it’s growing the wrong way, I can curl it up with an eyelash curler. This works on the assumption I own an eyelash curler. And while I am female, I don’t own a lot of beauty supplies… in 40 years, I’ve never needed or wanted to use an eyelash curler.

Tortured Dreams Update

The edits to Tortured Dreams are taking me forever. You never realize how much stuff happens and is connected in a book, until you make changes. Twice I have made it more than three-quarters of the way through the book only to realize I now had to go back to the first quarter and read through it again to make sure the change I made in chapter 40 something hadn’t ruined the stuff that had happened in the previous chapters.

Having said that, it is worth it. I am loving this version of Tortured Dreams and wish I’d done it sooner. I have a feeling, I will actually want to sit down and read this version as well as listen to the audiobook, which means I might want to read the rest of the D&R series… something I’ve never done before.

For the record, I have changed more than half the book at this point as well as adding chapters. I think you guys will love it as well. The killer chapters have made a huge difference. You understand what is going on more, not just with them, but with everything.

However, the addition of killer chapters means that some major changes have had to be made to some of the regular chapters. At least 10 regular chapters were completely rewritten from start to finish by chapter 33 of the book. And I do love this version. The story is more complete and it just “feels” more coherent.

Okay, now I must return to work… there’s still lots to do!

The Huge Announcement

It’s officially official and I get to tell all of you about the amazing opportunity I’ve been given! I know all of you will be just as excited as I am. In August, I was approached by Findaway Voices. Findaway Voices is the world’s audiobook partner, revolutionizing the business of audiobooks since 2006. Today, Findaway delivers hundreds of thousands of titles to over 45 retailers and library partners worldwide.

They first disrupted the CD-focused world of audiobooks with Playaway, a built-for circulation audiobook player now used in 40,000 libraries, schools, and military installations globally. In 2013, Findaway advanced audiobooks in the downloadable and streaming space by launching Audio Engine, the industry’s largest B2B audiobook delivery platform. Now, Findaway enables every brand in the world to offer a complete audiobook collection to their customers and compete on a global scale. In 2016, with the goal of making every book in the world available as an audiobook, they launched Findaway Voices, an audiobook creation platform for independent authors and publishers.

Findaway Voices is launching a pilot program where they buy the rights for audiobooks and pay for the production from independently published authors (like myself). I was fortunate enough to be one of the authors they selected for the pilot program and I am ecstatic. Since the first week of September, I have woke up several times and thought “wow” and had to re-read the last series of emails to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

Guess what? I wasn’t dreaming! Which means I have the pleasure to offer my readers not one audiobook, not even one series… but six audiobooks in two different series. If you’ve wondered why I’ve been dedicating so much time to making Tortured Dreams what it should be… here is your answer. Findaway Voices will be producing Tortured Dreams, Elysium Dreams, and Mercurial Dreams as audiobooks. Tortured Dreams will be revised to have killer chapters, which it desperately needs as well as fix some of my rookie mistakes. Reading it for editing has proven to me I am a much better writer than I was eight years ago.

Ah, the great announcement continues… Nearly all of you love the emotionless Aislinn Cain. However, three years ago I introduced you to a character completely her opposite; Soleil Burns the extremely emotional, easily annoyed half angel who swears more than an angel or even a half angel should with the release of Natural Born Exorcist Book 1 of the Nephilim Narratives. Along with the first three D&R books, Findaway Voices will be producing all three of the first Nephilim Narratives: Natural Born Exorcist, Oh My Wizard, and Demon Boxes.

And last, but certainly not least if sales of these audiobooks do well, there is the option to buy and produce more of them!

The revised version of Tortured Dreams will release in 2 parts. The audiobook will release first and then after a few months the ebook will be updated to match. I can’t give you release dates for any of the audiobooks yet… we haven’t even started auditions and frankly, I’m still writing killer chapters for Tortured Dreams. No worries, when I know, you’ll know. It won’t be 2020. Instead you’ll have to content yourself with reading the ebooks of Demon Boxes releasing at Halloween and Buried Dreams D&R #20 which will release in December. Oh and one last thing, I will have final say on the narrators!

Now, break out the boogie shoes and help me celebrate with the happy dance!