Heat All Around

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Am I My Brother's Keeper?

Of late I have found myself pondering that question along with what exactly constitutes "humanity".

My daughter and I are writers, but we are also classified permanently disabled, which means we squeeze our meager resources together each month to keep roof over head, food on table and litter in boxes for two precocious kitties.

Now I can see some of you out there shaking your heads and thinking..."Well, if you're so resource strapped, what business do you have supporting cats?

To those who are cogitating over that conundrum, let me explain that medical health providers will tell you that when you have disabled people who are bound by their disabilities to little if any outside activities, having the sweet, gentle purring of a contented cat in your lap being rubbed methodically and with care and affection by that disabled entity, the calm that can and does sweep through that person's...

...neurons and synapses may be far more advantageous than the best anti-depressants; which in the long run, are far more costly than the aforementioned feline companions.

My daughter and I have two...one is hers and is so in tuned to her body's aura, she will often alert me to the onset of one of my daughter's more violent convulsive seizures.

That precious early warning allows me to get in place so I can minimize the extent of injuries my daughter must suffer during those seizures. That alone makes that kitty worth her weight in gold, and then some.

The other kitty is our baby kitty. She came to us from the Animal Shelter wrapped in a blue wash cloth, she was that tiny, but has been fearless and a great source of laughter, joy, and unadulterated and unconditional love. So once in a while she protests when the litter box is not scooped clean fast enough...small price for all the wonderment she brings into our world.

And that brings me, in my own convoluted way, back to my original question. Am I my brother's keeper...or, and here is MY take on what the question should really ask...Am I my brother's sister?

I am sitting here tonight before my computer screen, my adult daughter, the radiant joy of my life, despite all the challenges of her uncontrolled seizures,

sleeping contentedly nearby...so I can hear her and reach her should she begin one of her seizures...with our eldest cat curled up on the round mound of her hip, or beneath her neck stretched out in utter adoration and trust.

I have one light on and the air conditioner is quietly keeping the air comfortable in the 90 degree heat still squeezing in from outside.

You can not see, unless you are on your hands and knees over near the balcony door, the purple cord that keeps the balcony door open because my neighbor knocked on my door, and in unwarranted humiliation asked me for help.

She has an adult son with many medical issues too...one being total blindness and others dealing with respiratory issues.

Please, she asked nervously, her son needs a fan...there electricity was shut off just today...she's been out on disability and is awaiting her workman's comp...could she please run a cord...she'd pay me and take care of me and my daughter with transportation anywhere we wanted to go...(neither my daughter or I drive any longer)...but please.

I looked at her and said "Of Course, and not to worry about anything. Neighbors look out for neighbors."

Brothers and sisters look out for each other. I am not my brother's keeper...I am my brother's sister. I am God's daughter and my neighbor is God's daughter. Her son is my brother, my son, my family. There but for the Grace of God, go I. We are all of us neighbors helping neighbors.

My daughter and I have little. We have been in that place where we wondered how we would pay to keep the utilities on, the food on the table, the roof over our heads.

A fire years ago stripped us of everything, and for one solid week we had to live in my car...my daughter, my son, and myself until my next paycheck when I could put down a security deposit while we waited for our insurance company to pay a small percentage towards our loss. All we had left was the black smoke lining all of our nostrils, and that car we would live in for the week to come.

Tomorrow it could be us again needing to reach out a hand with bent head asking for help.

We have little, but we may not be our brother's keeper, but we are our brother's family...and family...GOD'S family is here to help each other along this path...

...so I have this purple cord, which means I cannot completely close the door...My daughter is a major bug-a-phobe...the gap that lets the cord run from my surge protector...

...to the fan my neighbor's son needs for his well being, is now taped with packaging tape to keep any wayward bugs out...

...and my daughter sleeps deeply and contentedly...she shared in making the decision to help our neighbor...and her cat is stretched out beneath her chin, their bond ethereal...and I am here typing this, my mind fluid in its ponderings.

I am going to end this by saying deep inside I feel good knowing I have helped. It was soul wrenching for her to knock on my door and beg for help...I hope she will know no matter what I am first and foremost her sister, and sisters look out for each other.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Phoenix Breed is Rising

There are among us many brave men and women who have taken on the specter of power and dominion and WON. It is never easy to confront such minions from a darker side and one always risks the fires that can scorch and destroy. Does that mean you should not risk the pits of some one's self-created hell? HELL NO!

Heroes are not born into some magical skin... heroes do not even realize they ARE heroes...not now when they are performing heroic deeds, nor later when their heroism shines like a beacon for all to see.

This blog posting is dedicated to those who posted recently to the firestorm brewing in the e-Pub world in their own names...very, very brave, and those who had to take care because of an addendum that denied them their constitutional right to speak freely.

They still posted, but had to do so using the anonymity of anonymous. All of you are heroes and Phoenix's rising from the ashes of the hell fires you were captured in is your legacy.

Kudos, one, kudos all. May your future endeavors be richer and filled with literary joy.

Soar high My Beautiful Birds of Flame. You have all risen above the fires and your wings will span wide and gracefully with success as you head towards your waiting aerie.

Friday, September 10, 2010

9/11 Days into Months Later

For long days after the Towers slipped into ash and rubble, the city smoldered and the Nation...no the World walked around in stunned disbelief. The enormity of what they'd watched on their television screens that replayed like a maddening loop on a treadmill none could step off from, made each of us cringe over and over and desperately want to jump away from those screens and DO SOMETHING...but what?

Rescue personnel from around the world rushed into the city preparing for survivors...survivors that never materialized...

...and as the smoke began to fade, we soon understood why. Still mankind lives, breathes and hopes. Walls of photos appeared seeking loved ones that had been in those Towers when the two planes careened into their bellies and brought them low.

Months of cleaning did find the odd bit and piece of human remains amidst the skeletons of the Tower's remains...but survivors? None. Many of the brave rescue crews that had rushed in praying to bring out the innocent, became themselves, casualties when the Towers mushroomed down upon themselves. Still we screamed out for something to do to mitigate the agony clawing at our guts...something that would remind us we were still here and still capable of breathing, living, and being human again.

Across the Country, across the world, blood drives began. Why? I couldn't help wondering why? There were no survivors. Who was going to need blood? But then I remembered to add a two word codicil to my question...Who was going to need blood...this time? No one, but such hate that would drive people to fly planes on a suicide mission like those that flew those planes that Tuesday would not stop with this attack. There would be more. IN other words, the WORLD needed blood, just in case.

Military agencies here in the United States leaped to the forefront...they who serve on the front lines, know the need of preparedness...

...Corporations world-wide opened their doors to the world wide Red Cross encouraging blood drives at all of their facilities...

...here and there, Americans stepped up to do what none of us could do for those that had perished in the Towers, in that field in Pennsylvania, at the Pentagon that Tuesday morning on September 11, 2011, give the preparedness of life saving blood...in case...

...even in makeshift cafeterias, like this one pictured above...similar to the one where my daughter Kat Holmes worked as a Corporate Auditor. Kat was twenty-five, when she climbed up on that table, let them strap her down and plunge the needle in to draw her precious life giving blood during her Company's 9/11 blood drive. We had no way of knowing...no one did until the convulsion began, with the needle still buried deeply in the crook of her elbow, and her vein, that this would be the first of her Grand Mal seizures, but it was. We didn't know as she made this gesture to help humankind be ready against future insanity, her own future was going to be irrevocably altered, but it was. We had no idea one violent seizure with the needle still in her vein would become five, ten or more a day, but it did. We had no way of knowing giving blood would permanently disable her, but it did. From the depth of her need to DO SOMETHING she gave unstintingly, and in that act, her life has been forever changed.

The passengers on that plane on 9/11 knew when they made the decision to engage the hijackers they were going to die. They chose to die DOING SOMETHING. Kat did not know when she chose to DO SOMETHING that she was permanently altering her forever...she was JUST twenty-five...yet despite the cruelty of how her life has changed she dedicates herself to helping others and giving as much as it is possible, given her limitations to give.

She did not die on that table with that needle in her arm, but her life has been permanently changed...yet two years ago she spent one whole year making two hundred designer dolls to give to elderly women in nursing homes who no longer have families at Christmas so they'd have something of their own to open Christmas morning...so I'd say she DID something. Here's a couple of those dolls. You be the judge.

I know there are many out there with similar stories. The events of 9/11 continue to have long reaching impacts upon all of us nine years later. Some more obvious than others, but all of us, I pray, DID SOMETHING no matter where in the world we were on that Tuesday, and hopefully we are STILL doing something. We can never forget we are Humanity first before all else.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

9/11 Nine Years and yet Just yesterday

I remember that day. I was in my car listening to the Country Western Channel having just dropped my daughter off at work. I had driven to a local Five and Ten store after that because I would be starting a new teaching assignment on the 24th and had a lot to do to prepare myself.

I'm a Special Ed teacher. I have a Master Degree in Special Education and a Teacher of the Handicapped License. I had almost finished up my Bachelor's Degree earning a dual degree in Psychology and Sociology when I'd found myself substitute teaching in a classroom run by my mentor Bill Riches.

Bill taught children with Down Syndrome and in learning from him I found my calling, so back to school I went, determined to be the caring, brilliant teacher Bill showed me I could possibly become

Bill had been in a car accident the week before September 11th...a bad one. The school brought in a substitute teacher, but Bill was not coming back and by law they can only keep a sub for three weeks. I was their choice and Bill's to step in and become his replacement.

I remember feeling happy trawling and sad through the construction paper, glue and safety scissors. I was on top of the world about having my classroom and saddened I got it from my friend's tragedy. Till, with Bill's tacit approval, I could not imagine how my world could be more perfect. I'd be filling the shoes of the man I so admired.

I paid for my purchases, left the store, climbed back into my car, turned the key and heard the two morning show hosts talking weird stuff about a plane just flying into the World Trade Center in New York. I waited for the punch line certain it was a joke. Those two told some of the most outrageous stories. I waited. No punchline came. I waited some more. They repeated it. I got pissed. Okay, let's hear the punchline. By now I am home, and not the least happy with them for telling a sick joke and not getting to the punchline.

Up into my apartment I trudge, unloaded my things, flipped on the TV and had the air literally knocked out of my lungs as they showed the second plane fly into the Towers. Unsteadily, I sink to the hassock, my body beginning to tremble, my eyes wide, my mouth gaping, my hands shaking. What the hell? This can NOT be happening?

I am frozen, unable to move, my eyes beginning to fill. I can't take it in. People begin jumping from the upper levels of the Towers choosing that death to the incinerating death speeding their way.

My thoughts turn to my children. My daughter is safe, but my son worked just this side of the river. Was he safe? No one could tell how far from Ground Zero the destruction had spread.

With fingers cold with fear, I punched in my Son's cell phone number and nothing...no signal, no ring, no voice mail. Oh Dear God! NO!

Glued to the set I watch hell unfold before my eyes. Tears that I was not even aware I was crying were streaming down my face, and I wasn't even sure whom I was crying for...my son whom I would not reach until the next day, or the multitude of ravaged faces, covered in ash frantically looking for their owned loved ones in that mayhem?

I was a zombie when I had to drive to pick my daughter back up, but when I looked upon her approaching face, my eyes shut very tightly and I sent up a prayer of thanks to My God for sparing this beautiful child who is the very air that fills my lungs and an equally heartfelt one for all those who would not be embracing their beloved heartbeat's core when the dust settled long after this night turned into history's nightmare.

My son it seems had been safely on this side of the bridge, but rather than heading safely south, he crossed the bridge and forged his way into the devastation determined to help all that he could. I did not hear from him until 6:15 P.M. the following night when he could finally get a signal on his cell phone to call me. Once more I felt my knees wobble and had to thrust myself down onto that same hassock that had born my stunned body the day before.

Nine years have now passed...yet not a single emotion has been forgotten...and I still tear up and mourn our Country's loss of innocence, and the nightmarish vision of seeing those desperate souls leaping to their death as the Towers burned around them.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Amateur Psychologists

Recently, due to a certain firestorm that has swept up and somehow brought us into its concentric winds, my daughter and I have been the dubious recipients of some amateur psychologists...so I decided, what the hey, lets see what I'd find if I did a Google Image search of AMATEUR PSYCHOLOGIST...and boy, oh boy was it ever enlightening... For instance take a gander at picture number ONE...

...is this picture suggesting amateur psychologists have blocks IN their heads or are just plain BLOCKHEADED? Either way I don't think it is a really GOOD thing, and probably not something I would want to have on my résumé should I ever think about taking up a career of actually having people think I might know what the Hades I am talking about...but then I don't profess to give out psychological advice without the education and/or approved certification to back it...cause I think that would be sorta BLOCKHEADED! Especially given the state of today's litigious society, don't you? But moving on. My next Google image really had me scratching my firing graying cells...that's brain matter, by the way...
a tool chest...a BIG tool chest. I must admit this had me pondering its significance when you place it within the context of AMATEUR PSYCHOLOGIST. There is, of course the shovel, which could suggest the unschooled speaker is just shoveling the...well you know what...or trying to drill into the firing synapses of what makes a person's emotions fluctuate...and I gotta tell you if this is what your amateur psychologist suggest don't walk...RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN...or it could be that the amateur has spent too much time thinking the head he's supposed to hammer isn't the one on the end of the nail but the one protruding from his/her own shoulders...which could explain why that person might think they were qualified to give therapeutic advice, but FYI...you're not. Then I came to this one, which I must admit felt a little closer to an explanation...what do you think...

...talking to aliens? Spend enough time doing that and I'm sure you could convince yourself you were Mahatma Ghandi, Mother Theresa and Sigmund Freud all wrapped into one entity. I guess those alien mind control beams are really something...can't say I know this from first hand experience, but since Google claims this as a verifiable image of an Amateur Psychologist, who am I to buck what I see in black and white...after all proof is in the seeing right?...And yet couldn't it all boil down to someone just wanting to take on the persona of the last Google Image of and Amateur Psychologist?

Just a little devil doing little devil things?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Two Sides To Every Issue

I've been told by someone trying to rationally rip me a new one from the other side that there are more than two sides to every issue. I suppose if you have a geometric object then she could be right...and I suppose, I can admit she IS partially right.... just not the way she expected. This firestorm that my daughter and I have found ourselves drawn into should have been a really bad thing...except we have found ourselves getting to know some really spectacular people thanks to it's flames flashing out willy-nilly into some of the strangest places from the other side.

There are people we might not have gotten to know had a certain publisher with an irrational temper not lost it on September 1, 2010 in one of her own loops that we don't bother with. Even some of their wonderful mothers. Rose you're a delight and your new grandbaby a July 4th treat. So for that, thank you other side.

I have a very dear friend who is a best selling author...you know...from the really BIG list...the one that gets written about in the New York Times...and gets movie deals and, you know makes the real waves...and real controversy because he writes from his heart after tons and tons of brain frying research about things that stir up people in places of all kinds of power...(I'm reading his new book...a blockbuster.) I asked him about why he chooses to write about topics that set off such firestorms...and he said..."if I don't do what in right inside my heart, what good is anything?"

And you know what? He's right. His topics take on the big powers, and he takes them on unafraid because he has the courage of his conviction. Can I do less simply because I am just starting up that literay totem pole?

So, let me ask any and all...


And why would a company encourage receiving such a rating by failing to do one simple thing...respond to a request for information? That's all that was needed by this publisher? Doesn't seem like a lot, does it?

It's a mystery to me, yet that is exactly what happened when the publisher my daughter was recently, and lamentably with, was served with notice by the BBB that a complaint had been filed against them for Contract Dispute.

Let me backtrack.

I was primarily motivated to go a digging by someone who commented on the DEAR AUTHOR posting concerning the firestorm about the internal implosion that seems to be swirling within this publisher's company on September 2, 2010. It's really easy to check these things out now-a-days thanks to the Internet, and anyone can do it.

"AMUSED" claims legal knowledge as may or may not be the case, and suggested that the likes of Piers Anthony, a rather well respected voice in today's literary world, and rightly so, may not be omniscient in his evaluation and/or rating of my daughter's former publisher. Having a dual Bachelors degree in Psychology/Sociology, I can certainly agree with the supposition that human beings, being the creatures powered by emotions that we are, such a conclusion could well be valid.

That said, however, and having an analytical mind...just ask ALL my professors...I decided to see if the Better Business Bureau, (BBB) had anything on my daughter's histrionic former publisher. Having spent two years living just outside the Beltway, and interacting with many honorable people that genuinely make every effort throughout the course of their investigations to be impartial, and balanced implements of justice, I figured the BBB would not be influenced by the histrionics's of either publisher, author, editor, or cover artist. After all, the BBB has a long standing history of investigating complaints...some genuine...some nothing more than disgruntled tit-for-tat nonsense filings.

Into the BBB site I go.

All I had to do...and this is so incredible...was type my daughter's former publisher's PHONE NUMBER and low and behold, like Moses parting the Red Sea for the escaping Israelites, and there it was, a definitive "F" grade.

Whatever was BBB's reasoning?

Naturally I wanted to know more, and since I didn't stop during my college years at just an AA, AS and a BA, you've GOT to know I'm in love with seeking knowledge, I scrolled down

The "F" was awarded because the Publisher failed to respond to notice of a complaint that was filed for CONTRACT DISPUTE.

The PUBLISHER CHOSE not to respond and earned her very own "F". Uhm...may I just ask an obvious question WHY? My Dad would've said that was like taking a gun and shooting yourself in the foot, and Dad was a business owner...successful, so he'd know...or "Cutting your nose off to spite your face." Not a pretty metaphor, but accurate.

Back on theme...To "AMUSED" Piers Anthony, Predators and Editors, Writer Beware, AND BBB, are they ALL wrong, especially since the last one's negative is by the choice of my daughter's former publisher? Coincidence that all of them give this Publisher negative reviews?

You the general public be the judge.

Like my best selling friend, I am only following what I feel in my heart is right, and going where the research takes me, also where any one of those of you reading this posting can go and find the very same information.

Firestorm? Yes. Truth? 100% Coincidence? Seems doubtful.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Contracts and what they mean

There has been some speculations...don't you just love how I can throw that word in here since it is the general theme of my blog...that I have done my daughter a disservice by stepping in and taking her health issues seriously enough to execute my Power Of Attorney over her Medical and Social Security Allotment issues during recent firestorms.

Contracts are SUPPOSED to be the foundation of the relationship between the publisher and author, the publisher and editor, the publisher and cover artist, publisher and distributor, etc., etc., etc....yet there are publishers who do not follow the letter of their own contracts but expect every one else to.

I believe STRONGLY in the limits and powers defined in contracts. I used to work in the wire transfer branch of a major bank at one point in my life; adhering to the letter of the monetary contracts, right down to the fine print, was the difference between keeping companies like Campbell Soup and Ocean Spray, among others, content with having our bank as their financial representatives or not.

On February 24, 2003 I was issued Limited Power of Attorney over my daughter's medical and Social Security Allotments. I am bound UNDER the law, TO step in, and I am monitored to make certain I do so. Had I NOT executed my POA, I would have been in contempt of a binding LEGAL contract and subject to prosecution and potential imprisonment. I have been bound by the POA longer than any publishing contract executed in either August or December 2009.

However, at no time was that my concern. My concern has been, and always will be what is in my daughter's best interest...but, to those who open their mouths and speak of things they have no knowledge of, you are spreading an ignorance, that could cost someone else in the future their lives, or their freedom. Most irresponsible. Some of us HAVE no choice about being responsible, but the rest of you should at least make sure your information is valid before you put it out there and risk misguiding someone else. Ignorance should NOT be perpetuated because you didn't take the time to verify what you decide to put out in such a public forum.

What's in a Contract?

How important is it for a publisher to make sure they put the ACCURATE information in the contracts they have between themselves and the Author?...Given what is below, for Red Rose Publishing...not very.

This is the ONLY contract Kat Holmes has EVER received from Red Rose Publishing for her Gods At Work Series. Please note this is for WORKING UNDER COVERS…even though Ms’ Felter sent it as WORKING UNDER COVER…and I, Lin Holmes write as L.J. Holmes, have NEVER written for Red Rose Publishing and have NEVER written under my daughter KATHRYN RYDBOM’S pen name KAT HOLMES. Also nowhere does it mention Book two in the series HEART OF THE QUEEN, and the ROFR does NOT give an auto contract to Red Rose Publishing and Ms. Felter despite what she told both Kat Holmes and Kat's editor Ms. RO when they questioned the rush to edits for a non-contracted manuscript.

This is from the actual e-mail sent to Kat Holmes from Ms. Felter with the following listed attachments. This e-mail and all the attachments are available to back up what is reproduced here.

• AuthorInfo-Sheet.rtf
• CA form.rtf
• KatHolmes_Working Under Cover_NewContract.rtf

--- On Sat, 12/5/09, Red Rose Publishing Submissions wrote:

From: Red Rose Publishing Submissions
Subject: Your contract for Working Under Cover
To: mykitty130@yahoo.com
Date: Saturday, December 5, 2009, 12:10 PM
Here you go.

SOrry about that

Take care and have a great day!

Red Rose Publishing Staff

12065 Woodhull Rd.
Forestport, NY 13338
Phone: 315-392-5590

This contract is entered into in good faith and signatures from all parties named herein indicate acceptance and agreement to the terms described herein. This contract shall be considered legal and binding in all countries. If there should be any legal dispute, the laws of the state of New York shall apply.

This publishing agreement is entered into and effective on the date signed by both parties, initialized between _Linda Holmes_ writing as __Kat Holmes herein called Author, and Red Rose™ Publishing herein called the Publisher, _Working Under Cover__herein called Work.

X. Ownership of Characters

A. Except as allowed under the sections of this agreement governing promotion of the Work, Author owns the characters and controls their use in sequels or series books, whether published by Publisher or another publisher. Publisher will have a non-exclusive right to use the title and all material, including characters in the Work, for the purpose of advertising, publishing and promoting the Work.

B. [ X ] (check if applicable) If the Author writes another Work that is a sequel to the Work covered in this agreement, using an identical theme and/or major characters from the contracted Work, Publisher retains a right of first refusal for the subsequent Work. If Publisher does not accept for publication this additional Work, the Author will be free to market rights for the new work without encumbrance.

XII. If Publisher Suspends Operations, Sales

A. If the Publisher suspends operations, other than a temporary suspension for technical difficulties, such as a loss of web server, all rights delineated in Section I shall immediately revert to the Author. If the Publisher's operations are ordered suspended by any governmental or police entity, or by Injunction or Restraining Order, all rights shall immediately revert to the Author. If the suspension is lifted and operations resume, Author and Publisher may agree in writing to continue this agreement under the same or revised terms.

AUTHOR __ ____________________________ Date:__________
Print Name ___________
Pseudonym (if applicable) ____________
Address _______________
City, State, Postal Code, Country: _______________
Daytime telephone number:_____________
Evening telephone number :____________
Email address: ______________________
Social Security Number or Tax identification number _____________

PUBLISHER or Assigned: Wendi R. Felter
Date: December 5th, 2009
Red Rose™ Publishing
12065 Woodhull Rd
Forestport, NY 13338

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Kat Holmes; author; this is YOUR Parade of Pride. Congratulations on your talent. It will rocket you to the stars and beyond.

Your Most Recently Released Cover, created by award winning Muse Publishing Cover Art Goddess Delilah K. Stephans is a fantastic teaser. How many can see the Artica Lights? Yes, you do see Awni, the Queen of Artica, but can you see the lights? And just how cold do you really think the Queen of the land of constant Winter is? Frozen Book One in Your new Artica Lights Series is due for release from Muse It Hot Publishing April 1, 2011.
Delilah K. Stephans, is going to win so many awards in the months and years to come, and this is yet another example of why. This cover is for Kat's very first contracted book with Muse it Hot Publishing, The Lighthouse, due out on January 1, 2011. A ghost, a lighthouse, and a beautiful young woman...oh Kat you have given us a spine tingling suspense, filled with romance and intrigue, and Delilah has captured every element, as usual, on your cover. KUDOS.

You have an amazing PARADE OF PRIDE Kat for someone whose first book was only JUST published on March 18, 2010.  (Three more covers unavailable due to contractural issues with former publisher can no longer be included in Kat's Parade of Pride.)Your talent will shine when your New Publisher MUSE IT HOT PUBLISHING releases THE LIGHTHOUSE, January 1, 2011 and FROZEN, the first in your Artica Lights Series, April 1st...and can I let your fans in on a secret? Please? Kat is working on ANOTHER series as we speak, and OH MY GOD! It is SOOOOO Good! Check Back because her Parade of Pride is only going to grow.
Well Done, Kat!