Lovely, Lovely Texas

I’m currently visiting Texas for business. It’s a mite warmer here than central Minnesota. Things I really like about this visit:

  • The people. Wow, they’re incredibly nice. Everyone.
  • The food. So many new taste sensations. The local cuisine is to die for.
  • It’s warm. Much warmer… as in 30 degrees warmer.
  • Great coffee readily available. It’s everywhere. And very tasty.
  • It’s bustling with action. No matter where I look, something’s going on… even at 11:00 at night. Yeow.

The things I ponder:

  • I rather miss silence, crickets, flocks of birds chirping.
  • I miss my son. He’s taking care of my pup, but it’s weird not seeing to him every day.
  • I miss opening my windows.
  • I miss solitude. Sure, I’m sometimes alone here, but I’m rarely completely alone. That’s an odd sensation.
  • I miss my office.

But it’s great down here, quite a nice adventure. Most of my ponderings are due to not being home rather than Austin itself. We’ll definitely be back. :)


Kim Davis, Mike Huckabee, Eye of the Tiger

I really didn’t plan on commenting on this. Various personalities on the Internet seem to be doing a fine job at covering the various issues tangled in this story.

However, this twisted mess recently ventured into my world: issues of copyright.

Now, I realize it’s pretty silly to expect someone who violates the legal rights of entire groups of people to respect copyright. But, Mike Huckabee, Ms Davis and their crew of ne’er-do-wells appear to have done just that.

Check this out:

Sounded great. Quite dramatic. She even managed tears.

Problem is, they never got Survivor’s permission to use “Eye of the Tiger” and the band’s response to this unlicensed (ha, see what I did there?) use is less than good.

DavisAccording to TMZ, cease and desist orders have been sent.

Thing is, I can’t see how a politician would be ignorant of permission issues, especially after the media tornado surrounding Donald Trump’s use of Neil Young’s “Rocking in the Free World” (presumably) without Mr. Young’s knowledge. In fact:

Neil’s rep tells us Trump never got permission to use the song for his candidacy announcement, and furthermore — Neil, a Libertarian and Canadian citizen, is NOT down with Trump’s campaign. We’re told he’s actually backing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

But let’s talk about copyright for a moment, shall we?

If I were in charge of any kind of campaign (ha. That’ll be the day), I’d tread very carefully when it came to selecting music and obtaining the license to use them. Reason? This is an activity that can backfire. Big time.

For example, according to Rolling Stone, some campaigns get permission, but then staffers muck it up.

In 2004, Howard Dean’s staff decided “We Can,” a song by country star LeAnn Rimes about achieving the impossible, was the perfect soundtrack for his presidential bid. So Joe Trippi, Dean’s campaign manager, secured the rights and contacted Rimes for permission – she agreed, as long as it was a cover version. Yet almost every time Dean walked into a packed stadium or ballroom, U2’s “Beautiful Day” was playing overhead. “I’d go up to the advance person and be like, ‘What the fuck? That’s not our message,'” Trippi says. “We did it right, and I still couldn’t make sure that damn song played.”

Sigh. At least they tried.

That said, just grabbing a song and running with it can trigger some very bad publicity. For example, when Scott Walker used a Dropkick Murphys song, this happened:

MurphysMitt Romney evidently used a K’Naan song and K’Naan threatened legal action.

John McCain used Jackson Browne, Foo Fighters, and John Mellencamp melodies and all objected. Browne sued… causing embarrassment and back pedaling from the campaign.

What bothers Browne almost as much as McCain’s lack of permission, the lawsuit alleges, is that using “Running On Empty” suggests that Browne supports McCain’s presidential campaign and the Republican platform. “In light of Jackson Browne’s lifelong commitment to Democratic ideals and political candidates, the misappropriation of Jackson Browne’s endorsement is entirely reprehensible, and I have no doubt that a jury will agree,” Browne’s lawyer Lawrence Iser said.

Other politicians who did this, and received swift rebuke from the copyright holder, include:

  • Ronald Reagan
  • George W. Bush
  • Paul Ryan
  • Michelle Bachman
  • Charlie Crist
  • Sarah Palin
  • Barack Obama
  • And probably more

Then we have this:

Either way, the impact of such unauthorized use can be devastating for a songwriter. “The artist gets drawn into the question of whether or not to take any action, and run the risk of giving the politicians some additional publicity, or [allowing] the public for one second to think that someone like Neil Young was endorsing Donald Trump,” says Jon Landau, Springsteen’s longtime manager. “It’s kind of a reverse endorsement trap – Ronald Reagan declares Bruce as one of his own, and then Bruce has to either let it stand or actively disassociate. When the confusion gets big enough, most artists will, one way or the other, step in.”

So yeah… for Huckabee and his clan to cite ignorance on this subject would be a dubious claim at best. And to not respect the rights of a copyright holder tells me a lot about what they think of the artists who create the songs they so blatantly steal.

So, back to Survivor member Frankie Sullivan (and co-author of the song). According to the Daily Beast:

Sullivan previously sued Newt Gingrich for playing “Eye of the Tiger” at campaign events without authorization.

Rolling stone has an interesting theory on why this continues to happen:

“Why does it keep happening? I would say arrogance. Or because [candidates] want to use music in order to associate [with] fans of the artists whose music they’re using, and they think they can’t get permission,” Iser says. “What’s that expression? ‘It’s better to beg forgiveness than to ask [only] to get turned down.'”

It will be interesting to watch this scenario unfold.

Hat tip to Penny Pederson for bringing this to my attention. Thanks!


The next issue of Writing Etc.


I’ve been busy as a beaver updating books, editing, uploading to new markets… uff-da. It’s been an exhausting yet exhilarating task.

If you’re a Writing Etc. subscriber, I just thought I’d mention I haven’t forgotten you. Sure, I’ve been quiet, but I figure it’s better to be quiet than give you less than stellar information.

Speaking of stellar information, as I’ve dug through all my writing resources, I’ve dug through a ton of new info to share; some truly exciting stuff.

If you aren’t a subscriber (and are a freelance writer), just head here, sign up for Writing Etc., and watch for a bunch of new goodies to fly to your inbox. It’ll be a fun adventure.

Talk later,

— Beth :)


Marilyn Monroe and I have something in common.

Beware. A potentially NSFW pic ahead. Woah, that makes two NSFW posts in a row. How unusual. (This pic isn’t all that bad, but I’m never sure what some people categorize as NSFW). You’ve been warned. :)

Here’s what happened: I’m minding my own business, surfing the ‘net, when I ran across this pic:

marilyn-monroe-photoshoot-16My jaw dropped. Do you see it? It’s hard to miss.

See the scar on her belly? Yup. It’s very similar to mine.

Turns out, she had her gall bladder removed. I had a good chunk of colon removed. Hence, we’re scar-sisters.

Granted, my scar is longer, plus I have a couple laparoscopic slits, but hey… I’ll take any similarity with Ms Monroe.

Thing is, every other colon cancer person I’ve seen has a nice vertical incision with a awesome swerve around the belly button. I didn’t get that.

So, finding this pic was oddly gratifying.

Someday, I’ll be super-brave and post my own scar pic… maybe. Perhaps someone else with a choppy horizontal incision will find it comforting. :)

(I found the photo here.)



Great art is powerful. It’s thought provoking. Its message leaps back into your memory long after you’ve left the installation.

It’s haunting. Brooding. Heart wrenching. Fearless.

*Note: the following may be NSFW.*

Those words accurately describe Nona Faustine’s latest project. The photo series called “White Shoes,” depicts the “hidden history of slavery in New York City.”

As a time traveler I’m very invested in the past and our future. I see myself, the people who built this city and country as one. They deserve so much recognition for their sacrifice and contributions, something that is still being denied them. There was a force deep inside of me that needed to pay homage to those who played a pivotal role in the early history of this city, and the spaces in which they existed. I wanted to uncover those places where a tangible link to the past exists. Being a documentarian at heart I wanted you to feel and see those spaces, let your mind wonder. What does a Black body look like today in the place where they sold human beings 250 years ago? No other medium but photography and film could do that.

And boy, oh boy does she capture it.

It’s an amazing series by a fearless artist. Check out the images here. Prepare to be dazzled… and haunted.

Here’s an author interview.


A day late and a dollar short.

Well, Amazon has disagreed with my plans for a .99 sale. Turns out they won’t let me run any awesome events unless I promise to keep them the exclusive seller of all my novels for the next 90 days.

I don’t think so.

July 1, we’re going “wide” and will offer all three novels at every online bookstore imaginable. It’s been a fun process.

However, I’m rather sad to say goodbye to my exclusive deal with Amazon. They’ve been very nice to work with. But it’s time to move on to other markets along with our Amazon listings.

So, I’m not saying farewell to Amazon, I’m just spreading my wings a bit.

Sorry about the lack of sale. But I was quite literally one day late to the party.

Go figure.

Onward and upward!

Beth :)


.99 Cent Sale Coming Soon

I’ve recently noticed an uptick in novel sales (YAY… thanks to everyone who nabbed one) and figured it might be a good time to run a fast sale.

In a day or so, all my novels will be available for .99. This doesn’t happen often, but I thought I’d give a fast heads up to everyone who is kind enough to visit this space.

This has been a phenomenal week… and it’s only Monday.

All my novels are spit polished and good to go. Covers are awesome. I’ve had a few wonderful developments professionally. And on the health front, I just got some news that was out of this world.

Wow. Time to celebrate, eh?

Keep an eye on this space. Better yet, become a VIP reader and you’ll be the first to get in on this fun stuff.

Talk later. — Beth :)


Cancerversary #2… complete. :)

typewriter 21Wow. I hardly know what to say.

After a solid month of getting poked, prodded, scared, tested, and gouged… it’s done. And the results are in.

Monday, I visited my oncologist and I don’t believe the news could have been better. Every test, biopsy, and scan have come back stellar. Also, we have this:

First, it appears new guidelines concerning stage 2 colon cancer were installed around six months ago. My particular cancer (2A) was revised as such:

Before: I had an 80 percent chance of not having cancer five years from diagnosis.

Now: Statistically, I now have an 87 percent chance of not having cancer five years from diagnosis.

Before: At my diagnosis, I could have opted for chemo or go with a plan consisting of blood tests and CT scans.

Now: CT scans pose more radiation harm than they’re worth. I now only will receive blood tests every six months. Also, today chemo is not recommended, or even offered, to people with my cancer, grade, and stage (T3N0M0).

And yes… I aced all my tests, including the tumor marker (CEA). Mine is .6. “Normal” is 0 – 6.

So, it appears as though I’ll live another six months. All in all, good news, including a slight suspicion that I may have more colon left than originally thought.

So, while my future is still a tad mysterious, it’s certainly brighter than it has been in a long time.

Now, I’m off to write. Cool… :)


Totally not a cool week.

So, the second year cancerversary tests are in full swing. So far, so good. I’ve got two appointments this week, the final one with the oncologist next.

I dislike May. Thinking about cancer, reliving gory details, watching newbie practitioners gawk at my crazy scar… it’s not what I’d like to do. Then I have the big C hanging over my head, something I’d rather not think about.

Truth is, my stats aren’t that bad. There’s a 20 percent chance cancer will come back within five years. These next two years are when, statistically, it’ll happen.

So, imagine my surprise when, after my oncologist left, the temporary doc changed our treatment plan. “You don’t need CT scans anymore.”

“Why not? That was the plan. ‘Vigilant monitoring’ they called it. Just for the first five years. I was supposed to do blood tests every six months and a CT scan once a year to catch anything the blood test missed.”

“Nah. I’m cancelling it.”


No answer.

And that was that. My original oncologist is gone. The treatment plan we set was gone. Temporary doc changed everything. Even my family doc retired.

So, I’m starting fresh this year. I like my new family doc. Still no permanent oncologist, though. No treatment plan concerning the cancer. Sometimes I feel like I should just skip all the oncology appointments. After all, I could probably find someone to give me a CEA tumor marker test and if it’s in the normal range, I’m good to go. But my dear husband would likely object.

Life would sure be easier, though.

Enough complaining. On to my next appointment. Yippee.