Lughnasad 2017

Being Pagan is difficult.  Sure there’s discrimination, nasty comments, and the like, but you also have to figure out when to celebrate your holidays.  Christians have it easy; the calendar is designed around their holy days, church happens every Sunday.  But for Pagans it’s a bit more difficult.  Astronomers have been kind enough to track the solstices and equinoxes for us and make those dates readily available, but when it comes to the cross-quarter days, we’re on our own.

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Guilt-free Writing

I recently had a conversation with Moscow Poet Laureate, Tiffany Midge, about cultural appropriation in writing.  While she, a Native American, decried the act when white authors wrote Native American point-of-view characters, she claimed it was acceptable for her to plagiarize the work of Luna Leigh, a white woman living in England.  Then she went on to berate Terese Mailhot, a Tecumseh Postdoc Fellow at Purdue University, who brought the plagiarism to light.  It seems that theft of language, culture, and ideas is only a bad thing when it happens to you, and not when you do it to others.

What Ms. Midge refused to understand is cultural appropriation goes both ways and has been occurring since man first learned to walk upright.  Evidence of it is everywhere.  It’s human nature, and it’s not going to change.

I stumbled across a blatant example of cultural appropriation at Saint Gertrude’s Monastery in Cottonwood, Idaho.  The nuns host a workshop on understanding Sacred Celtic Landscapes.  I could point out that the sacred Celtic landscapes they reference predate the coming of Christianity by hundreds, if not thousands of years, that Celtic religious life originates from the Indo-European religious traditions, not the Judeo-Christian tradition, and that by appropriating those landscapes they have deprived a people of their heritage.  Instead, I decided that the post-Christian Celtic narrative is just as important as the pre-Christian narrative.

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Feral Cat Solutions

This morning I met with the Latah County Commissioners.  I have included my PowerPoint presentation here:

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Because I gave more detail in the presentation than is contained in the PowerPoint slides, I have attached a PDF of my notes: Feral Cat Fact Sheet.

And you can see the letter I wrote to the County Commissioners which resulted in my being granted an audience here: May 18-Cats


Since submitting the SNAP application on May 15, 2017 I have managed to capture 3 kittens.  It’s been a month and SNAP has yet to contact me regarding my application, so their statement that it may take up to a month to receive a decision is false.  It clearly takes OVER a month.  And in case you’re curious, that mama cat, who had the first litter last year, and another litter this year, is pregnant again.  Obviously, taking prompt action to reduce the number of stray and feral animals isn’t much of a concern for them.

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SFCC Creative Writing Club Creations, June 2017

It’s been a busy quarter at the Spokane Falls Community College Pullman Center.  I’m the advisor of the Creative Writing Club, which undertook a joint venture with Film Club this year.  The Creative Writing Club produced a screenplay, which the Film Club then produced.  The final product was released at an end-of-quarter showing on June 8th.

When the script was complete, the club decided that they wanted to try their hand at comic strips and came up with a couple of fun ones.  Those were displayed on the big screen in the foyer, enabling them to share their creativity with the rest of the student body.  I received permission from some of the students to display their work here.

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Why Write Book Reviews

Recently, a number of people have told me that book reviews are a waste of time.  One person said, “If you’re not writing, you’re procrastinating.”  Another said, “Why waste time promoting someone else’s work when you should be promoting your own?”

The answer is really very simple.  Book reviews are highly valuable, not just for the one receiving the review, but for the one writing it as well.

Every book a writer reads gives them insight into what’s trending in the market, which aids in determining the commercial potential of their books.  Market research is vital for finding a publisher.  Many writers finish their books and turn to places like Writers Market, Publishers Marketplace, and Query Tracker, then spam all the editors, agents, and publishers they can find.  A more successful approach might be turning to your bookshelf instead. Continue reading


We made the Paper, June 2017

It’s always nice to see your name in print, even if it’s not on the cover of a book!  This morning one of the writing groups I belong to made the paper again.  The story, “Locals find their writing zone at the coffee shop” was featured on the front page of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to buy a copy of the paper to read the whole story.  In addition to quotes from yours truly, the story also features quotes from fellow writers, Sonya Bramwell, Leona Ahles, and Jay Dearien.

You can learn more about this group, as well as other groups around the Palouse by visiting the Palouse Writers’ Guild Meet-up Page.


Idaho Climate Science Curriculum

Education officials unveiled updated climate science curriculum standards on Friday, May 19th, after collecting more than 1,000 public comments. The new revisions to Idaho’s K-12 science standards downplay the impacts of human activity on climate change in order to appease Idaho’s Republican-controlled Legislature.

This cartoon appeared in the following news outlets:


Wishing Upon a Star

So far, May has been full of good news.  After hosting a successful workshop for the Palouse Writers’ Guild, the Guild received a favorable write-up in the Inland 360, which ran in both the Moscow-Pullman Daily News and the Lewiston Tribune.  Then I received an Honorable Mention Award for a short-story I entered in the 2017 Idaho Writers’ Guild Writing Contest.

Wishing upon a Star is a work of short fiction that explores the far reaching effects of child abuse and examines how it can be a catalyst for events that occur well into adulthood.   You can read the story here:  Wishing upon a Star.  Other award-winning short stories can be found under the Short Fiction tab.


The Ravages of March: Northern Idaho Flooding

My story, The Ravages of March: A Far-Flung Family Struck by Floods, appears in the May 2017 issue of Idaho Magazine.  This story covers flooding that occurred near Potlatch, Idaho, as well as flooding that affected Bonner and Boundary Counties.  Copies of the magazine are usually available from BookPeople of Moscow and if they sell out, you can always buy a copy directly from Idaho Magazine.

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