Harrowed Insight

I was inspired to write my first novel Inside the Skin (formerly The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor) by life experiences I earned back in the late ’90s, early ’00s while working as a navy Equal Opportunity specialist, experiences the focus of which centered around the harassment, abuse, injury, and sometimes sadly even death as a result of the hatred for and confusion of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy which had recently been implemented throughout the military.

Continue reading “Harrowed Insight”

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Transgender Community* Trumped by the Arc and Bent of Autocratic Politics

My fury throughout the whole last campaign to and through the election until now has never been much about politics.

Politics in this country, while they have been expanding outward toward the wacky fringes leaving the mostly moderate radicals (the rarity of moderates these days makes us rather radical) like myself quite lonely, have always, and hopefully will continue to, arc this way and that.

Because if our politics are not forever fluid and free to flow this way and that depending upon the tides of our national temperament, then it must mean that someone must have dammed up our river of democracy.

Metaphors… sigh.

Anyway, I don’t know if you’ve read my about page but there you will see in one sentence how I feel about politics and politicians…

To me, politics is simply acting for ugly people. Pretty actors go to Hollywood; ugly actors go to Washington DC.

Consequently, as our politics arc to and fro in this country, our politicians arc right along with them…only always just slightly behind the arc as they forever fail in their efforts to try to predict its toing and froing.

No, my fury for the most part has been directed solely at Trump and his bent towards authoritarianism; which means then that the more he contorts himself into a true to life autocrat, the more he is strengthening his power at the expense of my freedoms…

Continue reading “Transgender Community* Trumped by the Arc and Bent of Autocratic Politics”

RISE OF THE CHOSEN by Guest Author Anna Kopp

In Sam’s world there are two rules. Rule #1: Nobody dies. Protect the living at all costs. Rule #2: Everybody dies. At least once.

The Waking was a global event in which a force called the Lifeblood invaded all humans who died. The few strong enough to control it came back as powerful immortals. The rest let the bloodlust take over and awoke with one goal – to kill.

Newly appointed Watch Guard Samantha Shields has a legacy to uphold. Her father died a hero defending their city and now she wants to follow in his footsteps. Except for the dying part, of course. Unfortunately, fate has other plans as she discovers deep dark secrets that make her choose between her loyalties and the lives of everyone in her city. Both rules are in play as Sam is forced to make hard decisions that could cost her everything – including the person she cares about most.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RISE OF THE CHOSEN


  • This is not another zombie book
  • Action-packed
  • LGBT MC (#ownvoices)
  • Unpredictable page-turner

Advanced reviewers are calling it ‘intense’, ‘gripping’, and a ‘fresh take on the zombie theme’. Fans of The Walking Dead and Divergent will love this book. But don’t just take their word for it – order on Amazon today and see for yourself!

EXCERPT

“Do you eat? I mean, I know you don’t need to, but do you?” Sam
asked curiously. David gave her a blank stare.
“Eating is inconvenient,” he finally answered, eliciting a confused
look.
“Because it takes time? Or effort?”
“Because it produces unneeded side effects from the body that
could cause an interruption in our duties.”
She mulled over the answer for a moment. Finally understanding
what he was talking about, she turned red as a beet and continued to
eat in silence.
Julian laughed at her reaction.
“That’s our Sarge, always worrying someone’s gonna have to take a
piss in the middle of a call.”
David turned to him. “With you and Mexican food, that’s not the
one I’m worried about.”
Sam almost choked on her burrito.
“Holy shit, did Sarge just make a joke? Well, well, maybe there’s
hope for you after all!”
The death glare from David was interrupted by a loud warning ring
from the computer, followed by the distant wail of a siren. He whirled
around to get the location and was immediately out the door, yelling
back at his scrambling teammates.
“Two at the gate.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna Kopp was born in Russia and immigrated to the United States when she was 11. She joined the US Army and lived in Georgia during her military career before settling down in the Cleveland, Ohio area. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in business but her true passion is writing. She is a wife and business partner to a software developer, and a mom to two rambunctious boys obsessed with Minecraft. Anna’s hobbies include reading, writing, and playing World of Warcraft. She is a true geek at heart and would love nothing more than to see her imagination become a part of something greater.

Contact Information

WEBSITE: www.annakoppauthor.com
BLOG: annakoppwrites.wordpress.com
GOODREADS: Author Profile
AMAZON: Author Page
FACEBOOK: facebook.com/annakoppwrites
TWITTER: @AnnaKoppAuthor



I would like to thank Anna for her donation to my Website Campaign to raise funds for my movie. I ask that you please take the time to visit Anna’s site, check out her work, and follow along with her on her literary journey. It definitely looks like it is going to be an adventurous and rewarding one.

Now that the IndieGoGo Campaign to raise funds to produce my movie has kicked off, my Website Campaign has ended. I ask that you please check out our stellar cast and crew, see what the flick is about, and, if you feel so compelled, donate to show your support of Independent Filmmakers. And whether you are or are not able to donate, please share the news about the campaign to your network of family and friends.

Thank you!

 
 

Write What You Know, You Know…

They say, Write what you know…

And in response I say, Okay…

So when I began in earnest to write stuff for people to read way back in the early Nineties – what a great decade that was – about all I knew about life outside of my personal life which I didn’t and still don’t have the guts yet to truly explore, was all pretty much navy-related.

Hence, the stories I wrote at the time were all pretty much, well… navy-related.

And therein lies the primary challenge I have when it comes to convincing and conniving folks who look a lot like you to read my writing… and now, to support a film based upon my writing: that even though the stories may be navy-related, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are stories just about the navy.

Some of you, many of you, are probably new to this site so understandably there may be a few things about me that you just aren’t aware of:

Like, even though my undergraduate degree is in English – which probably explains my nerd obsession with arranging and amalgamating morphemes into new and creative and interesting ways for you to read stuff, my graduate degree is in a completely unrelated field (well, maybe it’s a little related) of Human Relations – which probably explains my obsession with trying to understand why it is you think and behave the crazy and unpredictable way you do.

To satisfy my morpheme amalgamating obsession, I began to write; to satisfy my relating-to-humans obsession, I took a few years off from my primary career field in the Intelligence Community (oxymoron, I know…) while in the navy, to become a certified Equal Opportunity Advisor, where I spent much of my time providing counseling and training in diversity management.

And it is this relating to humans-related stuff that I would like to think is what my stories, while even though they may be set in a navy-related world, are all really about…

Like, as explored in my novel The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor, how do our perceptions and stereotypes influence our decisions when confronted with situations like homophobia and harassment and abuse?

 

Or, as explored in the short story and soon to be short film LEAVE, what was the environment really like for that courageous female sailor who took that first assignment to a warship with an all-male crew?

 

While these stories are set on navy ships during the Nineties, it is my belief their underlying themes and messages are relevant even, and especially, today.

Just recently Congress has authorized women to serve in all combat-related duties, not just some of them like back in the Nineties.

Right now there are courageous, pioneering females all throughout the US military – and throughout society in general – who are opening doors that have previously always been closed to them, and setting off on a course that clears the way for many more courageous females to forever follow.

So, yeah, we writers have always been told to Write what you know…

Just as you readers have always been told to Never judge a book by its cover…

Especially mine.
 

Open Books Open Minds…

www.facebook.com/leavethemovie

 
 

Finally! A Relating to Humans Archive System

Like I am currently in the process of doing for my taxes, I had until recently also been procrastinating heavily on setting up an archive system for the Relating to Humans feature.

However, yesterday, I finally got my proverbial butt in gear (I would really really like to know who came up with that saying…think about it…butts…gears…yeah, weird) and set up all the required archive pages and moved all the submissions to the feature that were out of cycle (You may recall from the Submission Guidelines that submitted work will stay posted on the feature for three-month cycles, after which time they will be archived. This allows the feature to stay fresh, so to speak, with new content.) and now we finally have a proper archive system.

So, if you submitted your work to the feature more than three months ago you will now be able to view it on its appropriate archive page.

This is a one-man operation here so I cannot guarantee that posts will be archived exactly at three months; but they’ll get moved somewhere there abouts.

Now that I finally got my you know what in gear, you’ll find that we are in need of some new work. Consequently, I encourage all of you to consider submitting your talents to one of the Feature’s features, if you know what I mean.

There’s a lot going on in our pretty but oh so petulant world for us to discuss and I would love to know what your thoughts are on all the major issues.

And please let me know if you have any suggestions for how we can improve the feature. I would truly appreciate that.

That’s all for now; however, there will be some new and interesting (at least to me) things going on soon so please stay tuned for future updates and announcements.

Now, if someone could please tell me what gear my you know what needs to be in for me to get the motivation up enough to complete my taxes…???

Three Men Walk into a Bar… [Satire Saturday Prompt]

First off, you may have noticed that today’s prompt is not of the #SonnetSaturday sort as originally advertised.

Yeah, about that…

See, I did me some literary math and took the total number of participants to date and subtracted that number by the presumed difficulty level, which I presume is pretty high, in sonnet composing and concluded that we just don’t have the mathematical heft to support a #SonnetSaturday. And to be honest with you, I’m a little worried about the long-term survival of this Daily Prompt thingie in general. But we’ll make that decision at a later date.

So, instead we now have #SatireSatuday, which may be a bit more mathematically attainable…

So, three men, the President of the United States, the “President” of Russia, and the Pope, as well as each of their cadre of bodyguards, walk into a bar, an underground transgender bar, hidden off a back, unassuming alley in an highly flamboyant basement of an unassuming building in the highly assuming city of Moscow…

You can take it, and by it I mean the satire, from there, utilizing any literary or art form you wish; however it must contain the words or spirit of the words: “the president’s secret fantasy.”

Roger that?
Roger that.

Submissions close at 7PMish and my selection will be posted at 8PMish.

The purpose of these exercises, in my mind, is to practice our skills and network a little bit. So, if you have the time and desire, please submit something; however, if you’re just a dedicated reader, please take the time to “Like” the submissions you like and, as we cannot allow any comments other than the submissions, please visit the sites of those daring to submit and find something to enjoy and comment on there.

To help get us in the proper frame of the prompt I share with you Antony Hegarty of “Antony and the Johnsons,” one of my favorite singers, as a reminder just how talented and worthy of our respect our transgender brothers and sisters are. And they are worthy of our respect not because of their gender choices or wardrobe choices or smooth skin, but for the same reason anyone else is worthy of our respect, which is, of course…just because.


 

For more on Antony, there’s this.

Peace and have fun…

Roger that?
Roger that.

 
 

A Story For the Misaligned, Sailor Or Otherwise

[UPDATE: The title of this novel has been changed to INSIDE THE SKIN]

The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor
A story for us all

 
From the Dedication Page:

This book is dedicated to anyone — regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender and all its breathless facets, sexual orientation, non-sexual orientation, sexual non-orientation, spirituality or lack thereof, religion or lack thereof, nationality or lack thereof, political affiliation or lack thereof, occupation or lack thereof, education or lack thereof, good looks or lack thereof, height, weight, shoe size, or any other ways we have identified and implemented as means to compare and contrast and separate and segregate and relegate and rank ourselves as humans — who has ever once regretted his or her or their identity.

This book, then, is for us, all of us.

You can learn more here.

 
 

Can you please help me please?

As I Ideate Full On Re: Features & Guest Authors

(Okay, the following intro paragraph is going to hurt a bit. Just look at that thing…one big blob of a block of text. You may want to grab yourself a cuppa of whatever it will take for you to keep the eyelids propped up for about fifteen sentences cram packed with pedantic pain. Are you ready for all that? Are you sure? All right, don’t say I didn’t warn you…good luck.)

On my About page I mention something to the effect that I consider myself somewhat of an human relations guy. I mentioned that for a several reasons. One being that I really enjoy humans; I don’t always enjoy being around them in close and confining proximity so much as I enjoy observing them, scientific like…from a safe and considerable distance…with multiple escape routes just in case things go sideways without notice like they so often do whenever a human is involved in the equation. And another reason I consider myself as a human relations guy is because I gots that paper that says I am. In addition to an undergrad degree in English, which I believe is fundamental to just about all I have become, good like and bad like, because it instilled even deeper into me than it was prior, which was already pretty deep, a love for literature and an appreciation for the language it takes to paint a story, which usually involves humans. But I gots more paper props, too. At about 2/3rds the way through my navy career, I got a little bored with my primary gig – telecommunications – and I looked for a way to take a break. I found that break by volunteering and qualifying for a three-year stint in a, go figure, human relations gig where I served as an Equal Opportunity specialist. To qualify, I first had to attend three-months of intensive, so called, sensitivity training (a misnomer because instead of being sensitive to my feelings, it exposed them and ripped off their calloused protective scars and scraped over them until they were bloody and raw), where I learned about how much of a turd white males have been throughout the United States history, and before. It was a very tough, but wonderfully enlightening, three-months. And finally, to top off my ice cream claim to my human relations affinity is a cherry of masters degree in, go figure, Human Relations.

So why did I just put you through all that?

Because I need your help.

And the reason I am asking you for your help, is because, even though I’ve had considerable experience of and in the field of human relations, I still don’t feel I am the one most qualified to do what it is I want to accomplish here.

But I think you are.

I think you know much better than I about what it is like to be a woman in this somewhat of a misogynistic world, or to be a person of color in this somewhat of a racist world, or to be a homosexual in this somewhat of a homophobic world…

Yeah, you know…

So I was wondering, knowing all that you know about all you’ve learned and experienced while maneuvering through this difficult and sometimes dangerous obstacle course called life, would you please help me please?

[Continue reading…]

 

WHO I AM – A Women’s Issues Feature

I am very honored and excited to share our very first submission to the new Relating to Humans feature.

Before we get to the submission, however, I would like to say a few words by way of introduction.

You know, I am a writer, which means…I’m insecure. I am. Every time I hit the “Publish” button to release my stuff out into this wild world, I get more than a little apprehensive wondering if it’s going to be well received, or not. Such was the case when I put this new Relating to Humans feature out there. I was a little nervous, wondering if anyone would take it seriously; if anyone would care to participate.

Which is why I am so honored and excited to be introducing you to the poetry of becausethisishowisaythings. She, with her one submission, helped to validate what this new feature is all about.

Becausethisishowisaythings is a fearless twenty-year old (fearless as is evident by her willingness to participate in this new venture of ours), and her poem is an honest expression of how she feels about being a woman.

So please, take the time to read her poem, and, if you are so moved, maybe leave her a comment and visit with her and support her efforts at her own website becausethisishowisaythings.wordpress.com

 


 

Who I am

I am confused.
I am a woman, a girl, a female…but I am not very feminine.
My mother tells me to wear prettier clothes. My sister asks if I’m a lesbian.

If I’m a girl, does that mean I have to wear pink, do I have to wear flowers in my hair and make-up on my face, all to convince you that I’m a girl, that I’m a woman?

Do I have to wear revealing clothes and get drunk on vodka to attract a man,
a boy, a male?

Do I have to feel afraid of sex?

Should I feel guilty for being honest, and not a bitch?

I am a woman, I know this, but it seems other people aren’t so sure.
I don’t know if I’m a feminist, but I know what I want to be.
I want to be strong, to be attractive, to be sensitive, to be accepted, to be understood.
I want to be a good person.
A person. Not a label.

I am a woman, I am a girl, a female…but don’t try to label me with these things.

Hey Author, let’s make a deal (condensed version)

Sometimes the mojo magic gets to workin’ in me and gets me going on a post and before I know it that post is a mile long…

Such is the painfully apparent case with the original “Hey Author, let’s make a deal” post.

Yeah…I went to read over it again this morning, before my coffee had a chance to bake in…not good.

That sucker’s so long it makes the Great Wall of China look like the Just Above Average Wall of China…

It’s so long it looks like I’m getting nothing but sympathy “Likes” on it. You know those kind of “Likes”…if I “Like” it, maybe it will then just go away…

Yeah…I understand.

But what I’m trying to do with the post is important to me so I’m compelled to shorten things up a bit so you can actually finish reading something of mine in at least one sitting.

So, to reiterate what I reiterated way too many times in the original post but what you probably managed not to read anyway, here are the key points of what is so important to me and what I would like us both to do:


Your tasks:
1. Like this or/and the original post
2. Follow this website
3. Subscribe to my newsletter (this is key…I know, everyone hates to do this but please do)
4. Purchase my short story LEAVE
5. Write a smokin’ hot review for it


My tasks:
1. Finish reading and reviewing HANDS OF EVIL
2. Pick the best smokin’ hot review of LEAVE
3. Ensure author of smokin’ hot review meets all eligibility requirements
4. Purchase a book or story of author of chosen smokin’ hot review
5. Read the author’s book
6. Review the author’s book
7. Publish the review of author’s book here
8. Publish the review of author’s book at Amazon
9. Publish the review of author’s book at Goodreads
10. Publish my review of author’s book, the author’s review of my short story, and an accompanying author profile, in my newsletter (<–click to subscribe).

(Since newsletters are probably the best way to engage with your readers, I strongly encourage all of you to fire one up, as well. If you do, let me know. I’d be happy to subscribe. (: )


That’s the crux of it…short and to the point.

Just like the original.

. . . .

Um, excuse me, before you go. . .

I know, I know. . .

But before you go, I’d like to say something real quick about my short story LEAVE…and this applies to all my stories, including my book The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor, with a navy setting.

I am always receiving feedback from readers of my so-called “navy stories” that initially the readers were hesitant to read them because, let’s face it, who really cares about what’s going on in the navy. Aren’t they the kind of stories that only a certain kind of people, sailor people perhaps, would only want to read?

My answer to that is, sure these are stories with a navy setting, but they aren’t necessarily about just navy things.

Because all this is so fundamental to who I am, I have been planning to discuss all this much more in depth later, but in my About page I mention that I consider myself a Human Relations kind of guy. I believe I am qualified to say that because I spent a good chunk of my life studying humans…

I spent three months at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute for some hardcore Diversity and EO training.

I was then certified as a Navy Equal Opportunity Advisor, where I worked daily managing EO issues and providing EO and Diversity training all throughout the navy’s Western Pacific operating area.

And, I have a masters degree in Human Relations (go figure).

So my “navy stories” are mostly about what most stories are about — humans and how we relate with each other. Which is often, not so well.

And these stories specifically put a special emphasis on those difficult relationships…relationships dealing with sexual orientation and race and gender issues and our perceptions and stereotypes of them and the harassment and harm we sometimes inflict on each over them.

So yeah, these stories, most of which you can read online for free right here, are navy stories in the sense that that is where they are set. . .

But it was my intent and my hope that they be stories that transcend way beyond just the navy and right into the heart of all of us.

 
 

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Toward the Happy End of Legislating Morality

You may be happy or sad over the reelection of Barack Obama.

I, for one, am happy.

You may be happy or sad over the reelection of the Congressional Incumbents.

I, for one, am sad.

And, you may be happy or sad over the historic legalization of gay marriage in Maryland and other states and the legalization of the limited recreational use of marijuana in Colorado and Washington.

I, for one, am beyond happy; in fact, I am completely and blissfully ecstatic.

Now, since I am happily married and have been so for over two score, and since my lung disease prevents me from inhaling any kind of smoke and my high liver counts discourage me from introducing THC into my system by any other means, I do not foresee me benefiting physically in the least because of the legalization of gay marriage and the decriminalization of marijuana use.

But I do benefit from it.

All Americans benefit from it because it represents a new mind set in our country.

A new hope.

Millions of Americans voted in this election to begin the end of legislating morality.

Yes, there will be legal challenges and set backs to these recent advancements toward the protection of our basic human right to live a life as we choose to live it.

Yes, we still have many states to go and many votes to cast before all Americans’s have the right to be human as each sees fit.

But we have just made a significant advancement, an advancement which sets the momentum toward even further advancement, and which minimizes the chance for significant setback.

And I, for one, am very happy about that.