Category Archives: Links

The Unforgiving Minute

Powerful stuff. And very important to hear.


Laurie Penny | Longreads | November 2017 | 12 minutes (3,175 words)

“I’m sick of being asked to suffer so a man can grow.”

– Alexandra Petri

“Everyone. Fucking. Knew.”

– Scott Rosenberg

This is actually happening.

The so-called “revelations” about endemic male sexual aggression in Hollywood, in the media, in politics, in the tech world, and in communities large and small have not stopped, despite every conceivable effort to dismiss, discredit, shame, and belittle the survivors coming forward to demand a different world. The most uncomfortable revelation is the fact that none of this, really, was that revelatory.

A great many people knew. Maybe they didn’t know all of it, but they knew enough to feel tainted by a complicity that hobbled their compassion.

It turns out that this isn’t about individual monsters. It never was. This is about structural violence, about a culture that decided long ago that…

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Filed under Feminism, Links

“Donald Trump Is The First White President”

Ta-Nehisi Coates has published a new article at The Atlantic called “Donald Trump Is The First White President“, and everyone needs to read it now. Right now. And then everyone needs to share it on their social media, their blogs, everything. It is incredibly powerful and it is incredibly important.

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Some Places You Can Donate

Hey, all!  Time for a little bit of good that’s easy to do.

First, here are two links if you’re interested in supporting arts and culture:

A Kickstarter for Schoolbooks and Sorcery – LGBTQ-Inclusive YA Anthology (Only 8 days left.  This one is the most time-restricted.  I would very much like to see this succeed, since a dear friend is a contributor.  They’re painfully close, but you know how Kickstarter works: all or nothing.)

Donations for Coney Island USA, the arts organization the preserves Coney Island culture, maintains the Coney Island museum, and puts on such programs as the Mermaid Parade (includes pictures of Mermaid Parades past, so may be NSFW)

Then there are some fundraisers to help some online friends of mine.

First, a fundraiser for a friend who’s temporarily down on her luck and needs help making her bills.

Finally, a fundraiser for a friend who has a more specific need for help with his medical bills.

Give what you can and pass the word!



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An Excerpt From Changeling

Changeling is still available for free download through Thursday!  If you haven’t downloaded a copy yet, here’s a taste of what you’re missing:

“ Oh, human…” the banshee sighed. “What are you trying to do?”

“You say you sing death,” Bridget pressed. “Does it have to be anybody’s death in particular?”

The banshee raised its hands and shook its hooded head.

“Human…Bridget…no. Just stop. I’ve heard this so many times before. What you want is forbidden.”

“Ah, there now, that’s an interesting thing,” Bridget said triumphantly, pointing as she always did when she had someone good and pinned down. “You tell me it’s forbidden, but nobody bothers to forbid something that can’t be done.  There’s no laws against counterfeiting by shitting gold coins, after all.”

“Bridget,” The banshee said, taking hold of the pointing hand and – not ungently – moving it away. “If I could do what you wish, not a child would die in this world as long as there was a parent left to say ‘take me instead’.”

Bridget just shook her head. “Oh, come now, what kind of fool do you take me for? Fool enough to think Old Man Death would find taking me sooner rather than later to be a deal worth making?”

“What deal are you making, then?”

Bridget grinned to herself. She had the spirit’s attention now. “This isn’t the first time you’ve been to these parts, you know. Do you remember?”

“I’ve been to all of Ireland,” The banshee answered “I remember it all, but I don’t know which part you want me to remember right now.”

“When last you were here, you sang for my husband.”

There was a long moment of silence. If the banshee had been human, Bridget would have guessed that it was stunned at being confronted by someone who’d been hurt by its work, at being forced to think of that person as someone who hurt instead of a simple singing engagement.

But it wasn’t human, now was it? Surely a creature who “sang death” couldn’t feel such things.

But sure, and didn’t that sound like a sigh that came out from under its hood before it spoke again. “Bridget, I’m sorry. I really am. But I’m afraid that doesn’t change anything.”

“I didna think it would. And there’s no need to be sorry.”


“…what’s that again?”

“Jimmy Flanagan was a good man, God rest his soul, and I loved him.” Bridget said. “But his death was no harder than most I’ve seen – a heart attack is head and shoulders above what our Meaghan is facing right now – and my heart didn’t break when he died.”


Bridget shook her head. “No. I loved him, but I never could love him the way other wives loved their husbands. When he took me to bed, it was doin’ me duty, not kickin’ up me heels like it is for most women at least once in a while.” She interrupted herself to shake a finger at her spectral companion. “And not because his idea of getting me ready was ‘brace yourself, Bridey’. Jimmy did the best he could, poor man.” She paused a moment then, and her eyes went very far away, and when she spoke it was much softer. “And I never knew why. Why I couldn’t love him like that, I mean…until I heard you sing, and it was like a mermaid instead of a banshee.”

The eerie blue lights within the cowl blinked, and the hooded head cocked. “What in the name of Oberon’s knickers do you mean by that?”

Bridget rolled her eyes. “Ye bewitched me, that’s what I mean. I couldn’t tear meself away. If I’d known ye would be this easy to find, I would’ve come to you on the moment.”

“Well most people don’t want to find – “ The banshee began. Then she realized what she was saying. “Are ye daft, woman?”

“Most likely,” Bridget admitted. “I certainly thought the other girls mad when they acted like I’m acting. Thought my way with my Jimmy was more sensible. Now they’re thirty years past it and I’m acting like a girl with her tits just starting to bud making calf eyes at a boy at her first dance.”

“And I’m…the boy?” The banshee asked, still struggling to understand just what this mad human was saying to her.

“You are.”

Hurry on over and pick up a free copy before it’s too late!  And as always, while you’re there, check out the rest of the library.



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Filed under Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Links, Romance

Bridget and the Banshee

In honor of Changeling being available for free download from Amazon this week, MJ Barros’s marvelous work “Bridget and the Banshee” has been given its own page on my author website.

Check it out!

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Coney Island, June 3, 2017 – Scenes from Dreams of the Boardwalk

A few weeks ago, I was visiting Coney Island on a lovely spring day, and I got some great pictures of locations that happen to be important in Dreams of the Boardwalk.  I’ve set them up on their own page on my author page.  Check it out!

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Filed under Fantasy, Fiction, Links, New York Life, Romance

An Excerpt From The Guardian Cats Of New York City: Kodama’s Courage

The Guardian Cats of New York City: Kodama’s Courage is still available for free download through Thursday! If you haven’t downloaded a copy yet, here’s a taste of what you’re missing:

Kodama could see the Bad Thing more clearly now.  It was still a piece of night come alive, but at least it had a shape: it was smaller than a two-legs but much bigger than himself, long and narrow like a living tube, with no legs to be seen.  Its head was an evil-looking triangle that swayed on the end of a long neck, and its eyes were two stars in the absolute black.

They stared at each other for a long moment, the Bad Thing swaying, Kodama crouched and hissing.

After that moment finally passed, the Bad Thing spoke in a soft, cold voice:

“What is your business here, little child of Bast?” It said.

It didn’t speak in sounds like the two-legs, or in bodies like a cat, but ideas put into Kodama’s mind.  The Bad Thing’s body continued to sway and its mouth remained closed, but still he knew what it meant to say.

Startled, Kodama came out of his crouch for a moment and stared, his head tilted and his ears up with curiosity.  Then he remembered that this was a Bad Thing, and he went back into his crouch.

He also remembered something else.  Something from those old stories: Bast.  That was the name of the greatest of cats, the mother of all cats.  The one who had helped the Sun fight the darkness.

“Those are my two-legs in there,” Kodama squeaked.  He tried to sound fierce, but he was still just a very young cat after all, little more than a kitten, and looking into the dark stars that were the Bad Thing’s eyes, he was very, very afraid.  He tried again.

“Those are my two-legs in there,” he said. “And I know you want to hurt them!  And I won’t let you!”

“Aaaahhhh.” The word was long and drawn out, a hiss and a sigh, and it would have sounded sad if it wasn’t so cold. “What a pity.  For you see, little child of Bast, my own great mother Apep has commanded that I must bring darkness into these two humans’ lives.  And as I am commanded, so it must be.”

“Why?  Why doesn’t Apep like my two-legs?”

“Apep has no liking for any who live under the light of Ra, child of Bast.  But as to why I was sent to trouble these two in particular?  Why, no reason at all.  And that is quite the point: pointless despair, random terror.  A man too young for such things falls dead of a heart attack because that weakness comes to him from his fathers; a young woman finds herself back in the nightmare of cancer that she thought left behind many years ago.  The venom of the great serpent kills a little more of the world’s light.”

Kodama had no idea what any of that meant.  So he stuck to what he did know:

“Well, I won’t let you!”

The Bad Thing tilted its head in what seemed to be curiosity. “What do you owe these humans, little one?” it asked. “What have they given you, that you defend them so fiercely?”

For a moment, Kodama didn’t answer.  Not because he had no answer to give, but because he had too many.  Food, warmth, shelter, love…but he knew that the Bad Thing would just laugh at all of those, because Bad Things don’t understand them.  Then, suddenly, he knew the one answer that the Bad Thing would respect.

“They gave me my name!” he squeaked.

“Ahhh,” the Bad Thing said, almost sadly. “I understand the debt that places upon you.  Then I fear that must make us enemies.  What a pity.”

Hurry on over and pick up a free copy before it’s too late!  And as always, while you’re there, check out the rest of the library!

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Filed under Fantasy, Fiction, Links, The Guardian Cats of NYC