Thursday, December 22, 2016

Wishing You Peace and Joy this Holiday Season.

With so much uncertainty ahead, our families are paramount to our happiness.
May you find joy and peace, and purpose for helping others in the human family and also in our animal kingdom. I'll spend time this holiday with my children, now teens, my husband, his family, my dog, and bad kitty, and forget the world at large for a day or two.

After the New Year those who stand for truth and justice, to protect our most vulnerable under the fascist regime taking hold of the USA, will return with renewed intensity to remove those in power destroying OUR democracy.  It doesn't belong to them!  

On another note, my Novella, THE UNMOVING SKY now has an Audio Book!  Yay.

Amazon Review

"A truly GRIPPING read!"

I had fun previewing an advance reader copy of K.L. Hallam’s suspenseful debut novella, THE UNMOVING SKY. It kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. From the start, the set-up is ripe for action: brothers Jackson and Artie run off into the woods to escape their drunken dangerous father, but they get lost and take refuge in a cave to wait out a storm. I won’t recount much more to avoid spoilers, but someone else is hiding out there, too, and the tension ratchets up even further. I liked how Hallam keeps increasing the stakes and maintaining a brisk pace to create a page-turner. She also explores several serious themes, from alcoholism and domestic abuse to teen pregnancy and terrorism, in the course of this fast-paced adventure.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

MG Book Review: Almost Paradise by Author Corabel Shofner

Almost ParadiseAlmost Paradise by Corabel Shofner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an ARC for an honest review. A repost from my review on Kidliterati 

“I believe places can heal. I believe science can heal. I believe God can heal. And I believe my hands can heal. It is best to use all of the above to get maximum results.”

Twelve-year-old, Ruby Clyde has a strong voice. She has a strong heart. She’s had to be the parent in the relationship with her mother. Her mother, like a child who needs caring for, and her stinky boyfriend Catfish winds up getting them all in deep trouble with the law.

One morning, Ruby wakes up to find she and her mother are being carted across the country, and her mother’s boyfriend, Catfish, whom she can’t stand, is in control. When he finds out her mother has a twin sister, who’s a nun, he wants to head over there and stay a while. But Ruby’s mother won’t have it. The sisters have been estranged for decades. Taking matters into his own hands, Catfish’s criminal mischief shocks Ruby and her mother to their cores and chaos ensues.

In the scramble, Ruby stays hidden from the mayhem and finds herself alone. The pig they rescued from the IQ Zoo used its leash (nylon pantyhose) to drag her to safety. With nowhere to turn, Ruby decides to go undercover and find her mother’s twin sister. After finding her, Ruby learns that her mother’s been arrested and must go on trial.

I found much to relate to in ALMOST PARADISE. Such a good story about what it’s like to feel abandoned and unloved. But Ruby is tough and she loves her mother, no matter what. We learn much about sacrifice from some of the secondary characters, like Ruby’s aunt Eleanor, the nun and the attorney Joe Brewer. Sprinkled throughout, are tidbits about the legal system and family court. Many references to faith and God, and I suppose with a nun as a major character that’s to be expected.
There are delightful twists, and endearing characters, making this feel true and timely in these important times when children need solace and comfort from life’s hard knocks. And that ending had me in tears!

“People heal each other, and it takes time.”

View all my reviews

Friday, December 9, 2016

How I Stood Up To My Predator When I Was Eight Years Old!

Now that the United States may have a bully-predator in chief, it’s time to share my story. It comes with a Trigger Warning if you’ve been sexually abused in any way you may want to move on. This was very hard to share although I’ve wanted to for a couple years. Now is the time. So young girls—and boys know one way to stand up to their coward abusers! 

As a child, my parents had violent fights. I was eight years old and so very happy when they divorced. When that happened my mother gathered my brother and me under her protective arms and gave us “the talk”. She told us about sex and about predators, but she was one year too late.
My parents were quite young at the time and naturally, they’d go out and leave us with various babysitters. One particular family in the neighborhood had a teenage daughter who’d sit on occasion, but when she couldn’t her brother, who was 18, would come to our house. 
(My mother later told me she had doubts about an older, male sitter, but she didn’t follow through with those doubts, and apparently, my father’s need to go out drinking was paramount.)
They never noticed the gifts from the male babysitter. Never knew he would creep into my bedroom after my parents left for a night out, again and again.
At first, there were the simple requests of show and tell. And with each subsequent visit, the predator-babysitter would shower me with gifts  to keep my mouth shut and not tell anyone about our little secret.
I hated it. I hated the way I felt. I was eight-years-old and being blackmailed to keep my mouth shut and keep up the abuse.
I cowered when he opened my bedroom door. I'd pretend to be asleep. But he’d only wake me. I was subjected to viewing him naked and to his requests for me to touch him. I wouldn’t tell my parents even when he gave me the brand new Captain and Tennille record. This went on and on. How long I’m unsure? My parents were separating during those years. 
I was lost and alone, believing no one would understand. I was EIGHT YEARS OLD. And I felt guilty. 
The guilt created the worst rift in my being, an end of innocence, guilt imprinted into my brain and in my heart.
Sitting with my mom on her bed, the day after she finally left my father, I wanted to tell her about moving day, when my predator/babysitter followed us. When he pretended to help around the house, busy cleaning and sweeping up for my recently single (immigrant) mother. 
It was a bright summer’s day. I stood alone with him on the front porch after everyone had left. I’m sure he felt confident with my mom now alone and my father living on the other side of town.
When he finished sweeping the porch he leaned into the broom and casually said, “Kiss me.”
I stared at him towering over me and said, “I told my mother everything, and she knows about you and what you did to me.” It was a lie. But I’d confronted him. 
I don’t recall if he said much after that. I do remember his face. Stunned. Silent. He placed the broom against the wall and walked away without another word.
 I never saw him again. None of us ever saw him again. I’m very proud of my eight-year-old self. The bravest thing I ever did.
Soon after that, my mother moved us to Florida.
Years later, I wound up in a college not far from the town where I was sexually abused. I looked up the babysitter’s name. A college friend of mine called the number listed in the directory. When the predator picked up, my friend told him we knew what he did to children. Of course, he hung up. But he was there–and he KNEW I would never forget. 
By the time I told my mother I was thirteen years old and had already shared the story with most of my close friends.
Each time I spoke about the pain and the guilt, the SHAME released me. I began healing. It took much longer for my relationships with the opposite sex to heal. But I found the perfect partner and we’ve been together over 20 years.
I bow to my eight-year-old self for standing up to my predator. They are all COWARDS. Speak Out. 
And please, tell someone, you can always email me if you'd like.
Had my mother spoken to me sooner, would things have been different? Hard to say, but it’s probably never too soon to speak with our children about the birds and the bees. In an age appropriate manner.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

We who believe in LOVE, PEACE, AND EQUALITY ... have been hurt and shocked to our Foundations!

I wanted to share something a little different with you today. Many of us have been writing, calling, and speaking out, sharing stories, and advocating in solidarity for truth and justice. Coalitions are building and people are finding their power once again.  So long as we can keep the fake NEWS out of our lives we can get things done.

A dear, dear, friend and Jazz Vocalist, Audra Blu sent this to me and asked if I could share. I’ve been suffering terrible anxiety since the election and her note helped me. 

It’s from the side of illumination, not fear…

There is a crack, a crack in everything ...
That's how the light gets in. ~Leonard Cohen

You and I and the rest of the anti -Trumpers must slow down and take it easy Now. It's time to do a 180 on this! It's time to get back to our TRUE SELVES AND HEAL!

We who believe in LOVE, PEACE AND EQUALITY  ...
have been hurt and shocked to our Foundations! 

We held on for dear life believing that the bad stuff that Trump was talking about would have an adverse effect on the country. And for the most part, it has, however, we forgot who WE truly are and let it go straight into our hearts. There was not enough objectivity and we became sick from the poison of that which we hated. We got a DTRUMP INFECTION - WE GOT THE DTRUMP COOTIES!

WE need some Spiritual healing and rest from being fed pure hate and poison for months on end.  Now is the time to get back to our centers, and get our hearts and minds strong again. We lost our hope and joy.

Remember the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane when he asked, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by."

I'm not a so-called Christian, (Me, either) but I love this radical and revolutionary socialist (Me, too), Jesus and this style! He was asking the same thing we were when DTRUMP won! Jesus finally had to say okay and accept what was happening. And, according to the story, Jesus rose from the dead and we will too!!!

When opposition has its roots in issues of principal, we need to hold to our integrity and individuality. We, Lovers of Justice and Truth, got a little too close and danced with the darkness. We started believing more in the dark than the LIGHT ... without even knowing it!!! The Universe knows this and is saying, "keep your eye on the prize and watch for the Light in the dark"!

We were putting our faith into a person instead of the spiritual reality of Yin and Yang. Instead of knowing that everything balances out completely and "This too shall pass!"

When it does, we must be ready and strong but most of all, strengthen our HEARTS to know when and what to do and say when the tides begin to change!

We must avoid becoming involved with vulgar or base people who do not share our values.

Everything that could have gone wrong has. It seems at times that the Universe is conspiring against us, but when opposition to progress is at its peak, it has nowhere to go but down. That's when THE LIGHT often emerges. With the right attitude and persistence, Good Fortune returns in the end.

Estrangement can arise from a failure to clearly see the world. This kind of thinking leads to isolation. All that is necessary to reverse this kind of cycle is to observe the world more closely, without prejudice and to be honest about possible errors in our attitudes.

This is about a true Revolution!

Fire evaporates water, and water puts out fire. So Change often; causes conflict; conflicts bring about change. This is a Time in the cycle of human affairs when things are stirring up, and with a hint of dramatic changes in the air.

In order to succeed, revolutions must be in alignment with certain laws of nature and good timing. They must begin at the right moment, gather support from a broad base of people, be guided my sincere and capable leaders and most of all must address real needs.

The strength of the forces of change will always be in proportion to the urgency of the need being a champion. This is true in government, economics, art, education, and in our personal lives.

Revolutionary change points to a period when chaos arises from order. Let's remember that not all order is good, and not all chaos is bad. Chaos is often an integral part of the way things evolve- - - as any parent and modern scientist will confirm. This is a reminder to have the courage to radically change and renew the way we bring ourselves to life. In this way, we can Channel chaos to cross and unleash a new power on behalf of the good.

Combat between forces of dark and light are cyclical; WE can become aware of these Cycles and master them by preparing in advance. In periods of drought, even with storms, a new season awaits.

Thank you, Audra

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Victims of Domestic Abuse Deserve Better

As a young child, I had to watch my parents fight in the most excruciating of ways. I'll never forget the pain and isolation of not being able to do anything to help. Thankfully, they divorced after eleven years. My mother, a tower of strength raised us, and being an immigrant from Greece, English wasn't her first language it was a struggle. 

This very important message from Open Educators. I hope this will help others.

Although domestic abuse has seen a decline in recent years, there are still millions — millions — of Americans who endure it each year. Not only is it a terrible way  to live — domestic violence victims never deserve to be abused, period — it’s behavior that should never be tolerated.

To show our support for those in abusive relationships, we wanted to share some helpful articles that we hope will provide some hope:

Secret Escape Plan for Domestic Violence Victims
7 steps to build a credit history, quietly, before getting out

If you are a victim of domestic violence, please know that you deserve better, and there are many ways to get the help you need. If you’re not comfortable contacting your local law enforcement agency, consider reaching out to an anonymous hotline:

Monday, November 28, 2016

Book Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James. (Dark Gifts #1)

(A repost of my review from the Kidliterati blog)

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts, #1)Gilded Cage by Vic James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One family is torn apart by Equals, aristocrats with mysterious powers, and held captive.

Luke Hadley, sixteen-years-old, is ripped away from his family and sent to Millmoor, the dusty, grimy low down, work camp everyone spends ten years, to fulfill societal obligations. While his two sisters and parents are sent to work for none other than Lord Jardine, ruler of the most powerful family in Great Britain. Thanks to his sister Abi’s smarts, the rest of his family works underfoot, serving their time, and his ten-year-old sister is in charge of caring for Heir Jardin’s illegitimate new baby.

ID chipped, and living in Millmore, the country’s oldest slave town. Luke meets a few unusual suspects and joins in the plans for a revolution.

Back at the Royal Family’s in Kyneston, Abi is falling for Jenner, Lord Jardine’s polite, and handsome (UnSkilled) son, while working together to organize the offices.
Baby Libby’s father is Gavar Jardine, heir of Jardine, and his anger is explosive at best. Ten-year-old, Daisy, has come to trust him, against the family’s best interests. And there’s the Young Master, Silyen Jardine, whose “gift” makes Abi’s uncomfortable, if not downright ill, the way he enters her head and sees everything.

Lords and Ladies, torment, and secrets and possible revolution, a dystopian world that feels familiar but oh, so different, and the likelihood of it being feasible are quite frightening. Gilded Cage, is told in multiple POVs, which kept the pace flowing and the tension tight. I was hooked from the start, the pace, and the author’s imagination is extraordinary, the end (chill bumps!) leaves you wanting more.

A magical, YA fantasy. I hope this book becomes series, for years and years to come. Outstanding YA debut for all ages.

Expected publication: February 14th, 2017 by Del Rey Books

*There’s a Goodreads Giveaway for this book until mid-December.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

We Are The Resistance

I am in shock. 

All I can think about are the results of the election, fearful for my most vulnerable friends, and what’s in store for the United States of America.

United, now divided.

Fear of being a woman, where rape and demoralizing are being sent to the highest office of this country.

I fear for my Muslim, Mexican, POC, Disabled, and LGBTQ friends, being targeted. My cousin is afraid, being a woman and autistic, she’ll be beaten up in her back alley.

I’m afraid for the artists, the poets, the professors, and the thinkers.
Scared for the environment, the future of climate change and science, the animals, the water we drink, and the food we eat.

What the hell have we done U.S.A.?  We’ve been sent into a glitch, back 50 years.

What’s our solace, recourse? 

Living in New York City, where it’s good to know intelligence prevails. (NY voted blue) But we can’t sit inside our state forever. Neither can you! Showing by example is the only thing that works. Share the diversity. Read widely, talk to people outside your circle.

There’s something I heard years and years ago about this century, from the writings of Edgar Cayce, the sleeping profit, was that early in the 21st century the purists would rise up!  

Rise. Rise. RISE   

A coalition is building, one of love and strength in kindness. We are the resistance!


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Reading Old Diaries And Preparing For #NaNoWriMo

I finally spent time this weekend cracking open and reading a few of my old journals. They sat in a vintage suitcase, deep in my closet. After 20 years, I first opened the suitcase in June, took a photo and ran away. Yesterday, gearing up for my #NaNaWriMo draft I began reading the first journal. 

Asking the oracle why I feel so poopy. Ha! Good question.

1988, my first year in New York City, when I was twenty-one, the year I lost my virginity and became pregnant. It was emotional. I knew it would be. Inside the suitcase, I found old Tarot readings I read for friends, which helped me learn the cards, found old poems and unfinished short stories, (very kind) class notes from my poetry teacher, at the New School. One journal left me hanging with an unwritten year! I couldn’t believe the suspense.
I’d forgotten most of that life and found it funny how I kept talking to future me:
“I just have to write through this pain so I can learn from it later".

 -- Oh, how I wish I could talk to young Karen. You FOOL! Poor kid. J I laughed and laughed. The voice alone was worth the read. It felt like time travel and such a head-trip. I recommend each of you, writer or not, keep a journal.

I’m sorry I’ve given up the habit. Writing novels and short stories has taken most of my writing mojo. I’ve tried and purchased a journal only to lose the motivation. I’m going to try again, inspired by what I’ve learned reading about the way I saw the world then. My memory alone wouldn’t have been accurate. 
I thought about posting an excerpt from a poem I wrote then but I’ll save that for another post.