Have You Ever Heard a Kora?

Have you ever heard a kora? Have you even heard of a kora?

I don’t think Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) would have destroyed Alasdair Fraser‘s Stradivarius violin or Eric Rigler‘s bagpipes. But they completely and utterly destroyed Ballaké Sissoko’s kora. Harper Lee said “It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” Surely this falls into the category of mockingbird-killing.

Our federal employees at the border, ICE, TSA, CBP, already have a poor reputation here and abroad. Wanton destruction of musical instruments only adds to staining an already sullied reputation. Elizabeth Moon has complained about the damage to our national honor. This is nowhere near as bad as putting children in cages I wouldn’t put a flea-ridden dog in, but it’s certainly not good.

It’s been suggested on Twitter that had Mr. Sissoko been a foreign musician from Belgium or Norway, his instrument would have been safe. Or if the kora was an instrument the CBP agents were familiar with, they might have handled it more gently. Unfortunately, any nation that grants Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom has an undeniable racism problem.

I can’t carry a tune in a bucket myself, but I have several friends who are musicians and they all dread travelling with their instruments, for fear the airlines will damage them. None of them ever mentioned a dread of CBP.

image via BBC

Do You Know What a White Cane Means?

a guest blog by Rebecca McFarland Kyle

This was written a few years ago by my friend, Rebecca McFarland Kyle.  We’ve had stories in the same anthology twice now. and will probably do so again.  She is severely visually impaired.

I thought everyone knew what a white cane was for, but apparently I was wrong.


National White Cane Day — October 15

Rebecca McFarland Kyle

originally posted October 15, 2011 at Bex Boox

In honor of National White Cane Day, I’m offering just a bit of an education. People who are using a white cane are either blind or visually disabled. I’ve used a white cane for ten years now and I’ve learned a lot from it and often as not been a teacher for people who’ve never encountered one before.

So what is a white cane and what does it mean? A white cane helps visually impaired or blind people get around.

They use the white cane for two reasons. One, it’s kind of like the “STUDENT DRIVER” sign you see on some automobiles. It tells you to beware and clear the road for someone who might perhaps not be as experienced as you are.

The second reason is to be able to navigate the world without having to be led by a person or a dog. Or worse, stumble around and bump into things. How does it work? The visually impaired or blind person holds the white cane in your hand and sweep or tap it in front of you. Essentially, that white cane is an extension of your index finger. You’re using it to more or less “feel your way around.”

First, if you encounter a person with a white cane, speak to them. Don’t be shy. This helps particularly the blind know where people are.

Second, you don’t need to yell. Generally, we hear pretty well. Sadly, that includes tacky remarks or jokes whispered to your friends.

Third, don’t point or use gestures. Many times we cannot see them or interpret them properly. Use your words: forward (for straight ahead), left, and right work great for directions.

Fourth, don’t expect the person with the cane to be “polite” and move it out of your path. They don’t see you there. If you’re not paying attention or expect the cane to be moved out of your way, don’t get abusive. You’re the one with the vision. Be glad you’ve got it and use it.

Fifth, allow people using white canes some space to navigate. They need to move the cane in front of them about two paces ahead and a bit more than the width of their body. If you see a person coming using a cane, keep your distance particularly with items that can foul up in the cane. Be particularly careful of pets and small children. We don’t want to harm anyone.

Sixth, teach your children about white canes. Uneducated kids thinking they can jump over the cane or play limbo with it is dangerous for both the cane user and the kid.

Seventh, if you need to lead a blind or visually impaired person somewhere, offer your arm. Walk slowly. Be aware of obstacles off to the side, overhead, and steps and just verbally tell the person what they’re getting into.

Blind and visually impaired people are not that much different than you. We want our independence, space and respect. The white cane helps us achieve that. I hope some of what I’ve said here while help my readers be more comfortable with people who use white canes.


Rebecca McFarland Kyle is an author and editor.  She was born on Friday the 13th, which explains a few things about her horror and fantasy stories.


Image via Google Images, from Joni and Friends

Mission Creep on the Original “Lost in Space”

I didn’t know Guy Williams was supposed to be the hero when I was a girl. I thought it was Billy Mumy’s show, and the rest were his supporting cast.

(Travalanche)

Having already done a post on Jonathan Harris, we thought it only equitable that we should publish our Lost in Space post on the birthday of Guy Williams (Armando Joseph Catalano, 1924-1989), who was the ostensible star of the show in the first place.

Now that Lost in Space has been rebooted, and not for the first time, the basic framework of the show may require but little explanation even among young people, but I bet some of the background is unknown even to fans of the original show. The concept was adapted from the Gold Key comic book Space Family Robinson, which launched (ha! I said “launched!) in 1962. The comic of course was a play on the concept of Swiss Family Robinson, only now instead of a 19th century family being marooned on an island, the story is set in the future (1997!), with a…

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Advent Word A Day Challenge

Armadale, on the Isle of Skye

My church is doing the Advent Word a Day Challenge. Advent goes from the four Sundays before Christmas to Christmas. It’s a time to (spiritually and mentally) prepare for Christmas.

December 1- Wait 14- Listen 2- Hope 15- Whisper 3- Breathe 16- Joy 4- Wake 17- Laugh 5- Step 18- Dance 6- Blink 19- Savor 7- Smell 20- Drink 8- Chew 21- Lift 9- Peace 22- Sing 10- Sleep 23- Love 11- Sit 24- Embrace 12- Touch 25- Born 13- Eat

  1. Wait. Advent is a time of waitful preparation.
  2. Hope. The first Advent candle is the Candle of Hope.
  3. Breathe. Just breathe, and remember to live life unrushed.
  4. Wake.
  5. Step
  6. Blink
  7. Smell
  8. Chew. Don’t gobble the holiday cookies. Chew and savor them.
  9. Peace
  10. Sleep. Get some rest. Don’t rush so much you can’t enjoy the holiday season.
  11. Sit
  12. Touch
  13. Eat. I am grateful for the charity turkey my church provided for Thanksgiving, which provided dinner for four days.
  14. Listen.
  15. Whisper
  16. Joy
  17. Laugh
  18. Dance. “Dance, dance, wherever you may be. I am the Lord of the dance,” said He. “I live in you and you live in Me.”
  19. Savor
  20. Drink. Hot cocoa and hot apple cider, maybe egg nog, not I Timothy 5:23.
  21. Lift
  22. Sing
  23. Love “The greatest of these is love.”
  24. Embrace
  25. Born “Unto us a child is born.
  26. Boxing Day
  27. 2nd Day of Kwanzaa.
  28. Instructions
  29. 1. Take some time to consider what the day’s word means to you. 2. Take a picture of something that represents the word and share it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter using #TUMCadvent2019. 3. Be blessed by what others on the same Advent journey share. ***If you are not able to access the internet, or don’t want to take a picture, consider journaling the feelings and thoughts that the day’s word brings to you.

The Redhead of Rajastan

I have been scribbling on Medium lately and ignoring my blog. Shaunta Grimes of Ninja Writers says it’s important for writers to blog. Therefore, I’m back … to blog about my Medium posts.

I haven’t found a niche on Medium yet: I’ve done restaurant reviews, talked about TV shows, and serialized some fiction. My most popular Medium posts thus far have been a new pulp adventure called The Redhead of Rajastan, about a teenaged American on the fictional island of Rajastan. Rajastan is a fictional island in the Arabian Sea, northwest of India, roughly parallel with Gujarat. Mem-sahib Cynthia Jackson inherited Jackson’s Jazz Club from her father. It’s the hottest jazz club this side of Bombay, and home to the only jukebox on Rajastan.

Chapter 1 Introducing Timothy Akbar Patel.

Chapter 2 Case of Count Davidoff

Chapter 3 The Case of Count Davidoff

Chapter 4 The Case of Count Davidoff

Another chapter, perhaps two, should be sufficient for me to finish this story. I already have rough plans for the next story in the series.

Timothy Akbar Patel is based on Sallah in the Indiana Jones movies, only more swarthy. He’s multilingual and quite literate. He is “manager, accountant, and number two tabla drummer ” of Jackson’s Jazz Club. He’s particular about his wardrobe, wearing bespoke white linen suits that are made for him in Bombay. He makes the trek to Bombay to buy alcohol, new suits, and records for the jukebox once a year. He’s known Cynthia since she was in nappies, and his feelings toward her are affectionately avuncular. This doesn’t mean he’s not tempted to backhand her occasionally.

Rajastan is loosely based on the Sabu version of Jungle Book and very loosely on the Bruce Boxleitner TV show Bring ‘Em Back Alive.

Bluff City Law

{image via NBC}

Bluff City Law premiered last night. My husband and I agreed it has potential, and are willing to give it a three week trial.

It stars Jimmy Smits (Bail Organa in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as civil tights attorney Elijah Strait and Caitlin McGee (Liz Brozniak in Grey’s Anatomy) as his estranged daughter Sydney Strait. Father and daughter are now practicing law together … if they don’t strangle each other.

I confess I have ulterior motives for watching. BCL is set in Memphis and filmed on location. My daughter wants to be an actress. If she is cast in an episode, I want to have it make sense when I watch, so I’m starting from the first episode.

It’s been contracted for 16 episodes. It will need to last longer before they can hire my daughter. I doubt they’re going to visit suburban high schools in Shelby County to watch school plays. She’s going to be Nana in her school’s production of The Velveteen Rabbit.

Sydney has just won a case for Strait & Associates and learned that one of the paralegals at the firm is her half-brother. Elijah’s adultery is one of the reasons she and her father were estranged, so a younger half-brother should have been more of a surprise than a shock.

BCL’s executive producers and creators are Dean Georgaris and Michael Aguilar. I am not familiar with their previous work.

September Submission Challenge!

I’m not sure I could manage 30 stories in a month, but I salute him for trying.

raymondwriteswrongs

ANNOUNCEMENT!

Next month (September) I am going to be submitting 1 story every day for the entire month.

If you’d like to join me in this attempt, the markets are listed below. Obviously you’ll need at least 30 pieces of SF (flash & short stories) written & ready to sub. If you are a Science Fiction writer who really wants to start subbing stories or already are, why not take the challenge?

NB:- All markets are listed on Submission Grinder.

01 – F&SF https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/glines.htm
02 – Clarkesworld http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/submissions/
03 – Speculative City (DO NOT BUMP) http://www.speculativecity.com/submissions/
04 – Daily Science Fiction https://dailysciencefiction.com/submit
05 – Trouble Among The Stars https://troubleamongthestars.com/submit/
06 – Asimovs https://www.asimovs.com/contact-us/writers-guidelines/
07 – Analog https://www.analogsf.com/contact-us/writers-guidelines/
08 – Flash Fiction Online http://flashfictiononline.com/main/submission-guidelines-flash-fiction/
09 – Every Day Fiction https://everydayfiction.com/submit-story/
10 – Interzone http://ttapress.com/interzone/guidelines/
11 – Beneath Ceaseless Skies http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/submissions/
12 – Three-Lobed Burning Eye https://www.3lobedmag.com/submissions.html
13 – Liquid Imagination http://liquidimagination.silverpen.org/submissions/

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The Age of Consent to Marry in the Regency Period

I found this very useful, so I’m swiping it as a guest blog.

Every Woman Dreams...

18th and 19th Century: Gretna Green - The Place for Elopements 18thcand19thc.blogspot. com18th and 19th Century: Gretna Green – The Place for Elopements
18thcand19thc.blogspot.
com

During the Regency, despite what some authors may include within the story line, the age of consent for females was twenty-one, not twenty-five as some would lead the reader to believe. Although I do not know from where the idea of the female having a guardian until age 25, what I assume is happening is the author (and many times the reader) is confusing the idea of a female’s guardianship with the age of majority. The confusion likely comes from fathers or another person setting up a trust for a female. The trust would provide the woman a “fortune” at age 25 or when she married (if she married with the approval of the man named as guardian of her money.)  

If the woman did not have her guardian’s approval (and was less that age 21) and chose to marry, she just…

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Indie vs TradPub vs Harlequin

I am on chapter two of a Regency romance.  Vera Nazarian of Norilana Press recommends I self-publish as an e-book if/when I finish it.  I would prefer to sell it to a traditional publisher, when the time comes, possibly Signet or Dell.  Harlequin has a poor reputation.  They don’t pay writers well, but they get books into stores.  They are also rumored to hold grudges against writers who complain.

I don’t read e-books.  I don’t understand them.  I’m not eager to publish in a format I can’t read myself.

Traditional publishing companies are not set up for the benefits of the authors.  Writers must go into the game knowing that, and I’ve been warned for years.  Shannon Donnelly warned publishers  “view their writers as cogs and widgets,” not as artists.

Author Donna Fasano said, “While attending an RWA conference, a friend of mine stood up and asked a panel of HQ editors and other ‘suits’ how they expected their authors to live on the paltry wages they paid. Their blunt answer, “We don’t. We warn authors not to quit their day jobs. Don’t ever expect to make a living as a writer. This is a hobby, not a career.” I was stunned and saddened. Consequently, after my friend spoke out, she never sold another manuscript to the company. ”

James Michener said once that “America is a country can make a fortune, but not a living.”

Carola Dunn, one of my favorite Regency romance writers, said the reason she switched from romance to mystery was because romance didn’t pay well.

Agatha Christie famously said, “murder does not pay … enough.”

I’m going to finish my novel before I worry about how/where to publish it.  I may do one book through Harlequin, just to get it out there.

Right now, my romance is on hold while I work on the novelette in a week challenge.