Guys Named Bob – Free Ebook

Free ebook download today through October 16 from Amazon.  You can read more about it here, or you can read Chapter One on my website. 

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Guys Named Bob

It’s here!

My new psychological thriller from IFD Publishing.

GNB Cover image

“Carjacked at gunpoint by a young female desperado, middle-aged Darlene Martin drives the girl far away from civilization to a place unlike anything in Darlene’s experience. The girl and her lover take Darlene”s car and leave her in the remote cabin with a very unusual man, also unlike anything in Darlene’s experience.

“During a deep dive into the dark and disturbing, Darlene discovers survival techniques she didn’t know she had while her family at home frets, argues, and does everything in their power to find her and get her back.”

This is the book that made me research how to write erotica. This is the book that spawned my (infamous) weekend workshops and conference talks on how to write sizzling sex scenes. I had two unconventional people falling for each other in an unconventional setting amidst much turmoil and emotional upheaval. I discovered that I like my sex scenes with a light, significant touch. And so they are, in this book.

Read the first chapter here.

Buy it here.

If you like it, please leave a review. Thanks!

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The (Continuing) Melanoma Chronicles

I’ve had two melanomas, my husband was recently diagnosed with his second. We joke about living in Melanoma Manor, and indeed our dermatologist calls us the Melanoma Couple. An affectionate designation I could do without.

His latest melanoma is in his ear. Breslow’s depth .5 mm.

melanoma

.5mm melanoma

So we get it biopsied, then we get a head and neck CT scan to make sure there’s no tumor elsewhere. Then we have a consultation, where I ask the ENT surgeon if they can get a 1 cm margin. “No need for a whole centimeter,” he said. “The biopsy took all the deep stuff. All that’s left is insitu.”

Hmmm. In my world, there is a reason that a 1cm margin is the standard protocol.

Regardless. They did the surgery, and did a fine job of it, in my opinion. While they were excising the melanoma, they included two other suspicious spots. This is what it looked like when we left the hospital.

skingraft

Skin graft .5mm melanoma

donorsite

Skin graft donor site

It is healing well.

But did they get margins? No. Of course they didn’t. The pathology report says they left melanoma  around the outside of the graft from the top all the way to the 5:00 position. We have to go back to have more tissue taken, more skin graft, but they can’t do it until this has healed, or they will jeopardize this graft.

So the melanoma grows for yet another six weeks.

Will they take a full 1 cm margin this time? How loud do I have to yell?

…To be continued…

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Fueling the Body

Sickness is all around me.

People have colds, flu, they’re sneezing, blowing, coughing. It’s everywhere. It’s on the streets, it’s in the store, it’s on the nightly news. Kids are missing school, people are missing work, everybody is miserable.

I used to have 3-4 colds a year. I recently reviewed thirty years of correspondence with an old friend, and I was amazed at how many colds I used to get. I kept checking the dates on the letters I sent her, and thinking What? I was sick again? Three to four times a year. My whole life.

I’m not pretty when I have a cold. I am a mucous factory, easily burning through two or three boxes of tissues. Raw nose, deep chest jelly cough that makes my ribs hurt. Ugh. Misery. Three to four times per year. Just when I realized that I might be over the cough, here comes the sore throat again.

You all know what I’m talking about.

What I am here to say is that since I went vegan almost six years ago, I haven’t had a single cold. This, my friends, is a miracle.

eattherainbow

 

I can only credit the fact that I eat a Whole Foods Plant Based diet, and that is high-test fuel for my machine. My weight is normal for the first time in my life, all my lab numbers are right, and I feel better than I ever have in my life.

I eat the rainbow. I am Plant Powered, and I don’t get sick. (At least I haven’t.)

My husband, currently coughing up chunks of phlegm, tells me it’s all about the germs. Well, we live in pretty close quarters and I didn’t get sick from his germs.  But he helped a friend install a glass enclosure for his bathroom for a couple of days, and picked up his friend’s cold. Why? My guess is that the friend’s wife fed him meat and cheese for lunch every day. While his body was busy clearing out the sludge from his arteries and tissues, it wasn’t paying as much attention to his immune system, and the cold virus found a way in.

My immune system seems to be rock solid.

Sick of being sick? Interested in a new way of eating that will heal your body while healing the planet? Here is a good place to start.

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A Prediction, A Promise, and A Plea

Here we are again, at the doorstep of a new year. This past year has been hard for many of us for many reasons, and we have voiced our concerns loudly at rallies, on social media, and with families and friends. Unfortunately, many of us have lost friends and alienated family members in the process, and this is a tragedy.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world” is not just an old adage, it is the truth. The fabric of planetary consciousness is made up of everyone’s thoughts, ideas, hope, disillusionment, pain, and resolve. We alone have the power to change that.

earthatnight

Yes, I know. What can we do about the government? We can do what we’re doing. We can talk, we can march, we can send postcards. But we don’t have to be mean about it. We don’t have to be snide and attempt to wound with sharp words. We don’t have to call names. We are all better than that.

So here is my prediction for 2018: I see the beginnings of a spiritual revolution. I sense a quickening already, in the “Me Too” movement, in the lack of tolerance for the Old White Boys Club running things, about the backlash against environmental pollution and the rape of the land to feed tortured animals for the sake of a double cheeseburger. “Woke” is the silly new word that was briefly employed to describe this sprout of this spiritual revolution, and woke we are.

But this isn’t going to happen somewhere out there. It happens inside us. Each of us. We ARE the spiritual revolution that will change the tenor of the planet.

Stop thinking “They need to…” and start thinking “We need to…” Start thinking “I need to…” And then do it. Every minute of every hour of every day.

I believe the planet is ready. Part of it is backlash, part of it is boomerang, part is the spiritual pressure I feel from all corners. We can do this.

Here is my promise: I will no longer start squabbles on social media, with family members, or with friends who have differing ideas from me. If a tussle starts, I will not contribute to it. I have done so, and felt a rock in the pit of my stomach for days afterward. No more. I will honor my friends’ different opinions, because after all, they mostly honor mine. I will not add to discord in our world, not in deed, not in thought. I am in charge of my thoughts and in charge of my actions, and I will use them to promote peace in my tiny little world of influence.

And here is my plea: Join me. Stop annoying people. Allow others their own journey (my definition of forgiveness).  Don’t quarrel. Try to see their side. It takes two to fight; it also takes two to dance.

I believe if everyone who reads this post begins 2018 with a resolve to hold love in the heart, to seek the higher ground, to always do the right thing, then that attitude will lighten the fabric of planetary consciousness. And as you infect others with the benign virus of love, they, too, will spread it around.

We’re not perfect, and I don’t expect that I will end the year unscathed by my own actions. But at least I will be consciously trying.

Next December, we can review the work we’ve done and be happy about our accomplishments, because I truly believe that we stand on the cusp of a spiritual revolution. Both within and without. Change the within and the without has no choice but to change.

Let’s do it. Let’s change this world.

Be nice. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be generous. Be loving. Be giving. Be active.

Be the change.

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A Cautionary Tale

I have a friend. A dear friend; the dearest possible friend. We met when I was in my early 30s; she was 25 years my senior. We were (are) both writers.

When I moved away from the town in which we both lived, we began a correspondence. An almost-daily correspondence. At first it was letters via snail mail (which would cross in the mail), then fax, then email. We were quite intimate with our conversations, covering the whole emotional ranges of our very different lives.

correspondence

Thirty Years of Correspondence

We talked very eloquently about our divorces, our marriages. We talked about infidelity. We talked about our children and various problems we had with them, their illnesses, their marriages, both successful and failed. We talked about ourselves, our histories, our futures, our feelings, in excruciating detail, because that’s what writers do. We talked about our glory moments and our devastations. There was nothing off  limits for us to discuss with sometimes brutal honesty. As we saw it at the time.

Imagine my astonishment when about three years ago she mentioned that she had kept–was keeping–all that correspondence. It was all boxed up, in her office closet.

This is stuff that could wound, hurt, devastate her children, my children, my husband. This was personal, very confidential stuff between two people. It never occurred to me, not once in all these years, that what we had written to each other had been saved. I assumed she let it drift into the ether as I had.

But her reasoning, she said, was that one day she would cull through it, excerpting it, writing the book of our friendship.

She is elderly now, and doesn’t remember the tortuous times we wrote about. She doesn’t remember the emotional firestorms we went through that we dissected, how we helped each other through rough patches, how we helped each other understand the motivations of those who slashed us to the core.

Needless to say, since this revelation of the existence of these papers, I have been far more judicious in things I say to her. I mourn the loss of that intimacy, and am a little bit resentful that I have to edit myself in this way.

When I asked for these papers, her caretaker (a family member) said she wanted to go through it for family history.  When I told her it was private communication not meant for others’ eyes, she was unmoved.

I had terrible thoughts of my friend’s children reading our letters and having their worlds rocked by what they read—the truth about their mother’s most intimate inner musings–and her friend’s unabashed opinions.

So I became determined, absolutely resolute, that this material would be shredded. I began to get insistent. I may have hurt some feelings in the process.

Yesterday, seven boxes were delivered to me by FedEx.

I breathed a sigh of relief that it is now in my hands, and no one will ever read it.

I do not regret baring my soul, naked, with both beauty and ugliness, to my dearest friend in all the world, but I’m sorry that we did not have an agreement beforehand about the disposal of our correspondence.

This is a cautionary tale.

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5 Years Vegan

I thought it was time for an update. This has been an interesting journey.  Previous blog posts have charted it.

Last June, I had blood work done. I was vegan four and a half years, but I was eating a lot of vegan junk food, and my weight had crept up. To my horror, my cholesterol was again high, and so was my blood pressure. I am testing my doctors’ patience about taking a statin.

So I had a harsh conversation with myself. I am 66 years old. No longer young. If I am going to take care of myself, now is the time.

How Not to Die

So I tuned up my diet. What I mean by that is that I went for the Whole Food, Plant Based way of eating. No more vegan junk food. Along with that, I ditched salt AND oil. No more oil.

We are now mid-September. I’ve been WFPB 3 months. I have lost the 20 pounds that sneaked up on me over the past few years. My blood pressure is nice and low and I am off the medication I’d been taking for five years. My cholesterol is also back down. All my numbers are good. I have great energy.

But I want to say a word about oil.  I can eat almost a POUND of potatoes for the calories in one tablespoon of olive oil.  What I discovered by cutting out oil is that eating it is completely unnecessary. I substitute applesauce when I bake (even yeast breads), and I saute veg in a couple tablespoons of water.  We enjoy any one of a zillion oil-free salad dressings (Google is your friend). So trust me when I say you will never miss butter, or the vegan equivalent, or olive oil, or anything else greasy.

I feel better than ever. And of course, there are more interesting videos and movies to see. The answers to almost any food issue, backed by actual science (not studies commissioned by the Egg Board, or the Dairy Industry, or Big Pharma) can be found at www.nutritionfacts.org. This is Dr. Greger’s labor of love, with no ads, no sponsors, is run by volunteers, and supported entirely by donations from readers.

I’ve also watched Cowspiracy and What the Health, both extremely important (albeit not without flaws) movies, currently available on Netflix. I continue to refer to, and give away copies of Dr. Greger’s amazing book How Not to Die.

I’m sorry I have come to this way of life so late. But better late than never.

I wish you the best of health.

P.S. Edited to add: I’m not perfect, my eating is not perfect. For example, as soon as I posted this, I ate a garden-fresh tomato from my own organic garden (I don’t buy tomatoes at the store because I can taste the chemicals), on a piece of whole grain bread, with a tablespoon of Veganaise (thinly-disguised oil) and salt and pepper. Life is too short to be so restricted as to miss an exquisite in-season tomato sandwich. Eating out or at friends’ houses can be a challenge, too. I try to stick to my principles without being obnoxious about it.

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