September 22

New ebooks, new print books, n’ stuff

Mini and I dusted off this book we wrote together because several people kept asking for it. We put it on the back burner because we wanted it to be free, but Amazon doesn’t allow for us to set the price as free. After some though we decided $.99 isn’t an unfair price.

So here it is, with a pretty new cover.

Trick or Treat - Michele Lee


Also the print version of Wolf Heart is now live and available.



Expect the first novella in the Thembisi stories (set in the Wolf Heart world but focusing on a werehyena who wants to be a rock star) out in December!

August 23

The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire by Molly Harper: A ramble

For those who don’t know my rambles are kind of like conversations with myself (and you as a non-participating listener) about a particular book.

Molly Harper is a local writer. She writes funny paranormal romance. I first picked up her book How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf when it was offered to me for review because of the paranormal and local author factors. I usually get pretty bored with typical romances, even paranormal ones, so I don’t take them for review as often as other genres.

Since then I’ve almost always checked the bookstore sections for her name and grabbed anything new that I found. Especially lately, with so very much going on in my personal life I’ve found a lot of solace in distracting fiction like fantasy rather than my normal emo stuff. I really enjoy Harper’s books and they always give me a nice break from real life angst when I need it.

Let me put this out there, I liked this book. So why do I need to ramble about it? Because something in it struck a chord.

First while most of Harper’s books feature a lot of snark and pop cultural references, this one is a little more serious. Gigi (the main character) is almost out of college and is interning with the Vampire Council on a computer programming position over the summer in the hopes of landing a permanent job with them. She has grown up surrounded by vampires who have protected her. She has been raised by an older sister who gave up her college career to take care of Gigi and make everything possible for her. She has been raised in every way to be a strong woman, surrounded by strong women and men who strengthen women and working in a field where often strong women aren’t accepted, but she totally has a good base with which to fight for her right to be there.

Furthermore she knows her electric lust for a mysterious vampire is completely unrealistic. She knows her actions are dangerous and downright stupid. But she is a true believer and is willing to take risks and deal with the consequences if she fails. Maybe she’ll bitch about it (a lot), but she really whole-heartedly goes for the “Shoot for the moon” thing. I could see how some readers might find that kind of lead annoying or hard to sympathize with. But I thought it was charming.  It’s hard to go full force into life, but we should demand better of ourselves and those around us. Gigi does this.

Demanding that fullness in romance is what leads to her breaking up with her perfectly nice but not knee-melting boyfriend. She has a little guilt over that because its not like he was bad to her or anything. The relationship wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t what she wanted. Yeah, I get that. Women are often thought of as silly for passing up a perfectly decent partner for someone who they are really really attracted to. The subtext of woman who breaks up with nice guy is a bitch who needs an abusive guy is ever present. Sometimes it’s true. Sometimes a girl (or a guy) has an attraction to people who treat them badly. But that’s something one has to learn/confront/work on themselves for. No amount of “Nice guy” partner can “support” that out of a woman unless she is working on it herself.

And speaking of “Nice Guy” Gigi runs into a Nice Guy. The exact kind of Nice Guy who, as memes say, expects that if he puts enough kindness coins into her sex will pop out. And despite her being a strong woman who knows what she wants (and who she wants) and even knows that this is a Nice Guy and he is being manipulative STILL struggles with “being nice” herself. Because just like she felt bad for breaking up with sweet but boring ex-boyfriend she wants to rebuff Guy-she-has-no-interest-in without causing him emotional damage. She takes pains to not be Friendzoning-bitch even though she has not led this guy on at all, he is very inappropriate with her and eventually even gets her killed. (Censored for spoilers.)

That is not a struggle I expected to find in a “funny paranormal romance”. So, Ms. Harper, you have disarmed me. Somehow I really liked this character, and this book. I wanted to be Gigi, with her passionate, supportive family and her blisteringly hot love. But I also was totally surprised that this confident, amazing, so capable woman who could very likely bring the world to its knees with her drive, also fumbled with trying to not be a bitch and trying to assure herself that yes, Mr. Nice Guy’s action were inappropriate and it was okay to defend herself. And that she under-defended herself.

Maybe it’s just because it ties in really well with some of the private issues going on in my life right now. I, too, want to make the people around me happier, want to pull my weight and accomplish Great Things (like first drafts and clean houses and fun birthday parties). At work I want to know I have improved the day of my coworkers and my clients. Even if, as sadly happens, I cannot help fix a sick patient, I want to give their family the closure and dignity of knowing their loved pet passed peacefully and is no longer in pain. I’m a little pushy, trying to learn many things about positions I wasn’t hired for because frankly if I’m done with my work and someone else is swamped I want to be able to help, not just sit there and say “Well my job is done and I don’t know that computer stuff, so sorry I can’t help you.”

And sometimes that bites me in the ass. Sometimes your best isn’t someone else’s best. Sometimes people get pissy because your priorities aren’t theirs. Sometimes it’s just hard to balance.

And I don’t want to have family members and coworkers and friends pissed at me because I didn’t do X because I was doing Y instead, which isn’t a necessity, but is still something I feel needed to be done. I hate confrontation and I hate it when I disappoint people and then…and then…

Then I realize how very much some people have manipulated that about me. I realize how much I have been asked to put my needs aside, to tolerate shitty behavior, to not be me so that they can be more important, or more right, just just more in control over me. Nice Guy isn’t just a romantic thing. Other people “Nice Guy” and “More Experienced Than You” people all the time. And when you want to be a team player it is really, really hard to step out and demand something for yourself.

I really, really, REALLY relate to Gigi. On one hand that makes me happy because I admire her too.

The other night I remember having anxiety dreams. I have them a lot, they tend to be the same sort of things (house never cleaned, I’m trying to leave a place and keep finding stuff I need to pack, people are abandoning me, etc). I also remember waking up growling and snapping at them. Or trying to. Maybe this book struck a nerve with me because like Gigi, I’ve been put in a position where I’m trying not to be a mean bitch, I;m trying not to hurt feelings, but it costing me to do so.

Maybe like Gigi it’s time for me to start showing a little more fang.

So that’s my rambly, completely and totally way too personal review.



July 19

What’s next?

Currently I have been:

-Formatting Wolf Heart for a print release and doing yet another edit

-Finishing up the first draft of the sequel, Wild Heart

-Editing a side novella set in the same world titled Savage Heart (the first of a trilogy of novellas)

Plus there’s the day job, school being out for summer, the DH switching jobs, some depression battling on both of our parts, a puppy, and  an extra child (for three weeks at least). I’m sure there’s been more. But hey, there has been progress. To prove it, here is the cover of Savage Heart starring Isis Montoya, a werehyena princess who wants to be a rock star.


Category: Business, My Work | Comments Off on What’s next?
July 14

The Real Toxins All Around Us

This is Polio. It mainly affects CHILDREN under the age of 5. There is no cure. As recently as 1988 there were 350,000 that’s THOUSAND cases a year. 5 to 10% of people with polio die. IT KILLS people, CHILDREN by paralyzing them. Suffocating them. Causing their organs to slowly stop working. Some countries still see hundreds of cases a year. Since the US began using an higher potency vaccine in 1987 cases in our country have dropped OVER 99%. Hundreds of thousands of people are alive and NOT malformed because of the vaccine. Thanks to the Polio vaccine The Americas were declared Polio free in 1994, in 36 (that’s THIRTY-SIX) Western Pacific countries (China, Australia, etc) in 2000, in all of Europe in 2002, and in India as of 2014.

Polio is not a disease to fuck around with. Vaccines are not some government conspiracy to sterilize or control the populace.

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This Diphtheria. It is caused by a bacteria which releases toxins into the areas infected. In 1980 there were an estimated 100,000 cases. In 2013 it resulted in an estimated 3,300 DEATHS (down from 8,000 in 1990.) It is airborne. It kills 5 to 10% of the people it infects and was first described by doctors in the 5th century BCE. It causes coughing, swelling, blockage of breathing, lesions, cardiac arrhythmia, paralysis, heart failure and death. It can travel through the blood and infect other organs as well. 40-50% of people who are not treated will die.

Earlier this year a 6 year old boy who had not been vaccinated died from Diphtheria.

The diphtheria vaccine has led to a 90% reduction in cases globally.


This is Pertussis, aka whopping cough. It is HIGHLY infectious. It can cause people to cough so hard that they vomit, break ribs and become exhausted just from the coughing. Children under 1 very often don’t cough, they just stop breathing. The disease was first described in the 16th century. It kills an estimated 2% of the babies (children under one) it infects. In 2013 it killed an estimated 61,000 people, almost all were children and most were under the age of THREE MONTHS. The CDC reports that it saw an 18% INCREASE in pertussis infections in 2014. In 2012 Pertussis was acknowledge to be at epidemic levels in 3 US states, despite the vaccine having been available since 1940, and studies available showing it is actually more effective against more severe strains of Pertussis.


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And here’s a first hand account of Pertussis.

This is Measles. It is a highly infectious airborne disease. Nine out of ten unprotected people who are exposed to measles will contract it. While it’s mostly annoying its complications can include pneumonia, bronchitis, corneal ulceration, and brain inflammation. In the 1920s the death rate for those infected was 30%. Today in countries or areas with malnutrition or poor health care (issues which do affect 1% of US citizens) the death rate is 28%. As recently as 2013 Measles was the most easily prevented cause of death on the planet. Measles deaths were reduced by 78% in UN countries with vaccine plans. In 2006 there were 66 reported cases of measles in the Americas. In 2014 there were 3,100 cases of measles reported in the Americas. In 2015 the US saw its first death from Measles since 2003.

Here is the personal account from author Roald Dahl, whose oldest daughter died of measles in 1962.

measles (1) measles health-0326-measles-640x360


This is Mumps, a viral disease that causes painful swelling of the parotid glands. Complications include pancreatitis, infection of the brain covering, permanent deafness, and painful swelling of the testicles which can cause sterility. Mumps is highly infectious and is spread by contact or respiratory droplets (snots, spit, etc). There is no blanket treatment for mumps. The vaccination has led to a 90% decrease in mumps cases. Before vaccinations were widely available there would be outbreaks every 5 or so years. Mumps has been described by doctors as far back as the 5th century BCE. Two doses of the vaccine are enough to give a person a life long immunity. In 2012 the CDC reported 229 cases of mumps in the US. In 2013 there were 1,151 cases of mumps in the US.

mumps popsci-mumps-parotitis


This is Rubella, or the German measles. It is usually mild, with complications including bleeding problems, testicular swelling and inflammation of the nerves. However if a woman contracts rubella early in her pregnancy she risks miscarriage, stillborn, or the baby being born with congenital rubella syndrome. The prognosis for infants with CRS is poor and issues include eye problems (including cataracts), ear problems (including deafness), heart and brain problems. While rubella is considered eradicated in the US there are still 100,000 cases of CRS each year elsewhere.

med_content_417221 campak-dan-rubella

This is Varicella, aka chicken pox. An airborne virus known mostly for causing an annoying itchy rash, it can also cause pneumonia, inflammation of the brain and bacterial skin infections. Before immunizations the number of varicella cases per year was close to the number of people born per year. The varicella vaccine, like many others, protects better against the more severe strains. One in 60,000 cases results in death, with 7,000 deaths reported in 2013. Infections in pregnant women can spread to the placenta and fetus resulting in skin disorders, brain damage, eye damage, neurological damage, severely underdeveloped toes and feet as well as bladder, anal and sphincter deformities. Varicella can also be lethal to adults with immunosupressive diseases, such as cancer and HIV.

Varicella-6 ijdvl_2010_76_6_724_72475_f3 derm-40


This is Hepatitis B, a disease spread though infected bodily fluids that affects the liver. Many people have mild or no symptoms at first. HepB can lead to a chronic infection which can cause cirrhosis and liver cancer. 15-25% of people who develop chronic HepB die of these complications. And estimated 240 to 320 MILLION people suffer from chronic HepB infections. Of these 750,000 die each year. Of those 300,000 are from liver cancer.

This is how my mother died in 1989. I was 9.

HepB has been preventable by vaccine since 1982. It became part of routine childhood vaccination recommendations in 1991. The HepB vaccination is most effective in children, offering 95% of children immunized protection.

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Vaccines are chemical warfare AGAINST the microscopic things trying to kill us. They are our shield against diseases which do not fuck around. They are not government conspiracies to sterilize or control or sicken us. They are the hard work of a hundred years of scientists trying to protect, mostly children, from an early painful death.

It’s really easy these days to fall for the anti-vax theories because when is the last time you saw someone with a disease like this? Chances are you haven’t, ever, in your life. It’s easy to think of chicken pox as that itchy thing you had when your were a kid, or polio as something that happened back when pictures were still black and white. But they aren’t.

If you are looking for something small and mysterious that is harming and even killing people, something “toxic” some might say, then look to the viruses and bacteria that are and have been trying to eat us and kill us throughout the entire history of our race.




Category: current events, Personal | Comments Off on The Real Toxins All Around Us
June 12


Context. Nobel Prize winner Tim Hunt said in a speech that when women are in labs:

“Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry.”

So female scientists took to Twitter to post pictures of themselves being too sexy to science.

Personally I find taking a break from cleaning up dog pee, poo, vomit and blood and sweating like a horse because the ac is out to don a lead apron entirely too sexy for science work. It’s a wonder why my coworkers didn’t jump me right there on the table. The dog with the broken leg must have been in the way.




ETA: This is a most excellent take.

Category: Personal | Comments Off on #DistractinglySexy