Wednesday, March 08, 2006

More than you ever wanted to know about me and my views on abortion...

If I had an agent, she or he would likely want to kill me after today.

First, a little background info. I was raised in a conventionally conservative manner. The adults in my family believed in God, practiced those of the Ten Commandments that didn't cramp their style too badly, attended church when it was convenient, and voted a straight Republican ticket, because the Democrats were the root of all evil, beginning with FDR and his goddammned Welfare State.

As a girl, I was taught to value my virginity above all else -- the prize I was to bestow upon a worthy young man of proper ethnic background and earning potential (a doctor would be best). Sex, when discussed in the most clinical terms and in hurried whispers, was a necessary evil to be avoided at all costs until the production of children was desired. I suppose I should be grateful it was discussed at all.

I watched fully one-third of the girls in my high school graduating class go on to become single mothers before they reached the age of 25. (If that sounds amazing, keep in mind that there were only 40 students in my senior class.) The rudiments of safe sex were not explained -- not at home, and not in school, though the state mandated it. The state has a funny way of not checking up on shit like that. (Lest you think I'm discussing some long-ago, shadowy period of the past, I graduated high school in 1984.)

I dodged that particular bullet, by the grace of God and the religious use of condoms, and because I wanted OUT and knew that I'd be trapped if I allowed myself to get pregnant. At the time, I was against abortion for myself and anyone else. So though I rebelled and lost my prized virginity early, I did manage to escape the fate of many of my childhood playmates. I went on to college and -- savoring the irony with every step -- married the doctor about whom my mother always dreamed.

And along the way, I grew into the bleeding heart liberal I am today, mostly by watching how poverty, ignorance, bigotry, misogyny, lack of education, and hypocrisy ruined an entire generation of my hometown peers.

When I was fifteen, I couldn't imagine the circumstances that would lead me to terminate a pregnancy. At forty, having borne two children and raised three from infancy, the only circumstance I can imagine that would lead me to terminate a pregnancy would be imminent threat to my own life, and only because my "already on the ground" kids still need me.

And that is MY CHOICE. At fifteen, I assumed that what was good for me was good for every other woman on the planet. At forty, I've come to understand that no one has the right to make a life-altering choice for another -- no individual, and no lawmaker.

I would like to see abortion remain safe and legal and become extremely rare. So would every other pro-choice person with whom I've ever discussed the subject. Nobody throws parties when a pregnancy is terminated, no matter what the propagandists tell you about the back rooms of Planned Parenthood.

If this country valued education and the lives of women and children as much as it values money and material objects -- PRACTICED the "family values" it so readily PREACHES on a daily basis -- twelve-year-olds wouldn't be getting pregnant in the back seats of school buses. Every single time an "abstinence only" sex education bill passes somewhere, another crop of unwanted pregnancies WILL spring up. The kids joining the virginity clubs, vowing to wait until marriage for sex? Are twice as likely to have unprotected sex when they break that vow. And every time the current administration pushes through another bill that cuts taxes for the wealthiest one percent of Americans while cutting healthcare for the poorest among us, somebody else is going without safe and effective birth control.

You want to cut down on abortions in the United States?





These aren't radical ideas...unless, of course, you balk at the idea of paying taxes to keep somebody else's kids healthy and educated. In which case, maybe you should you use the time you spend bitching about the high abortion rate to check out where your tax dollars ARE currently going. Here. Here. Here. And here.

And when you're done looking at that? Check out this post at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

Here's my linkage donation to the cause: Bill Napoli.

Because apparently only the obvious trauma to an unmarried, religious "girl" who intended to save her virginity for her husband merits the termination of an unwanted pregnancy conceived through rape. (And then, only if the rape is particularly brutal and involves sodomy.)

The rest of us sluts can just shut up and deal.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Coming soon...

...from Phaze, my erotic urban fantasy novella, "To Have and Have Not."

Based on the classic Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall movie of the same name, this story incorporates some of my favorite themes: dangerous secrets, rebellion against authority, and acute sexual attraction. Of course, my version takes the lovers' physical and emotional relationship much further than Bogie and Bacall were permitted to go onscreen in the 1940s.

Fifty years in the future, the collision between unchecked Global Warming and unforeseen metaphysical conditions has created a tear in the fabric of reality known as the Breach. Now the inhabitants of the city of Baltimore must live side-by-side with creatures they've never before encountered, except in their nightmares.

Jack Murphy: sub-human, blood-sucking freak, or just a guy who's had the bad luck to be transformed into a vampire by forces no one understands? Either way, he's not taking the easy way out--no leisurely strolls beneath the noonday sun for him. If he's going down, it will be fighting the brutal regime that's taken over his city, and if he has to go undercover as a "male escort" to do it, then so be it.

Except his lover, Laura, doesn't care for Jack's new career choice. Their bond is strong, and when they hit the sheets, they spark a heatwave to match the one that holds the city in its scorching grip. But the gigolo thing? And the mean streak Jack's developed lately? The combination is enough to shake anyone's trust.

Telling Laura the truth about his job would put her life at risk. Telling her why his job makes him so crazy...that would put Jack's pride at risk.

And blood-sucking freak or not, he's still a man, after all.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Post-Oscar Fashion Analysis From Someone Who Wears Sweats Five Days Out of Seven

I turned on the Oscars last night and the very first thing I saw was the dress that ate Charlize Theron.

Seriously. No...SERIOUSLY. Someone in the Theron camp/entourage/posse HATES Charlize.

That her stylist is certifiably insane seems to go without saying, but what about all the people around her who told she looked FABOOOO with that Black Hawk helicopter perched on her shoulder? You're telling me NOBODY had the cojones to stand up and say, "Hey, Charlie? Let's go see what else you've got in your closet, hmmmm?"

Academy Award winner or no, I feel sorry for the girl. She needs better friends.

And then there's Naomi Watts -- whom I think of as "NicoleKidmanLite" -- wearing a lovely confection the same exact shade as her skin.

The only way you could tell for sure where Naomi leaves off and the dress begins is by the nifty way the garment sort the front. In a "shredded by a pack of feral Chihuahuas" kind of way.

Again, I blame the lack of good counsel from solid, got-your-back girlfriends with the courage to say, "No, DON'T walk the red carpet looking like that. I don't CARE if the dress is free and Donatella Versace/Vera Wang/Dolce & Gabbana have offered to let you keep it. For the love of all that's holy, JUST SAY NO."

What can I say about Helena Bonham-Carter?

I adore the woman, in all her weird, brilliantly bizarre glory, and harbor the slim hope that her costume is some very sly, subtle, satirical joke we're all far too dumb to get. But I think I'm probably wrong. I think Helena probably spends so much time listening to late seventies Kate Bush on the original vinyl and trying to keep Tim Burton from accidentally blowing a hole in the space-time continuum that she doesn't have much time to check out current fashion. Hence the dress and hair from...hmm...1987? Maybe?

I have nothing to say about Helena's shoes. There simply are no words.

A lot of people disagree with me on this one, but I HATE Keira Knightly's dress.

DESPISE. LOATHE. Yards and yards of shiny burgundy satin draped in a semi-mermaid cut don't belong on any twenty-year-old not auditioning for the role of a bridesmaid in a community theatre production of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I won't even go into how badly her new hair color clashes with her eyebrows.

So who looked good? Meh. I was unmoved, on the whole. I'm not a huge fan of Uma Thurman as an actress, but her dress was the only one that caught my eye and held it without pain.

As for the ceremony itself, I was glad to see George Clooney and Reese Witherspoon win, sad to see GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK and Joaquin Phoenix lose -- though I understand CAPOTE is a fantastic film and Philip Seymour Hoffman is amazing in it -- and I enjoyed most of Jon Stewart's banter. The bit about Bjork and Dick Cheney made me giggle, as did the whole "Keira Knightly, Acting While Beautiful" ad. Lauren Bacall's inability to read a teleprompter made me wince.

Was it just me, or did the whole thing just seem...I dunno...flat? Uninspired? A sanitized version of the Golden Globes, which are totally fixed, but a lot more fun to watch?

Maybe I'll just chalk it up to a late burst of cynicism, or an especially bad case of Seasonal Affective Disorder, but it seems to me that when some chick who wins for...I dunno...was it art direction? Best adapted screenplay? Anyway, when some adorable woman thanks the Academy for seating her next to George Clooney at the nomination luncheon and gets the biggest laugh of the evening, you have to ask yourself -- why am I watching this? Of course, by that time it was nearly over, and I wanted to see if GOODNIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK would come from behind and take the big win. Alas, it was not to be. Instead, CRASH, a well-intentioned movie that nonetheless smashes its audience over the head repeatedly with its message, walked away with the Oscar for Best Picture. The more subtle -- and some might say subversive -- film that is GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK lost out.

Because in the end, what sane person can argue in this day and age that racism is not a bad, bad thing? But the slow and insidious encroachment upon civil liberties by a government that seeks to foment xenophobic paranoia among its citizenry? That may cut a tad too close to present truths to be a safe choice.

Besides, it's clearly all conspiracy theorist nonsense, and could never happen here. I know. Again.

And just because it's been far too long since I've been blatantly political: Your Ship-Has-Sailed Link of the Day.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Rumors of my death...blah blah blah...

February sucks. Every year, without fail. I don't know why I expected it to be different this year, but it wasn't.

That's all I have to say about that.

Miss Black? Still out there somewhere? You must think me horribly rude to ignore your invitation to debate you on your blog. It wasn't intentional. Larger issues of the domestic variety got in the way. I apologize, and will pay you a visit soon.

In other news, the winners of the Amber Quill Heat Wave Contest were announced yesterday, and my erotic historical romance, "Her Black Little Heart," made the cut. If I seem underwhelmed, it's only the effects of a 'February Sucks' hangover. I am, in fact, thrilled beyond the telling of it.

Stay tuned for more info regarding this story, which will be released as part of Amber Quill's Heat Wave in June of this year.

In addition, I'm finishing edits on my erotic urban fantasy novella, "To Have and Have Not," coming soon from Phaze. I'll post a blurb and cover artwork for that one tomorrow.

March is roaring in like big cat with a thorn in his paw. I can't see more than fifteen feet past my office window for the blowing snow. Leave it to winter to finally make an appearance just eighteen days before the scheduled arrival of spring. And yet...I've got a good feeling about this month. At any rate, it HAS to be better than last month. Onward and upward...