Pirated Books

Recently, several authors have found that their books have been stolen, that is, pirated by unscrupulous ‘lets-make-a-fast-buck’ individuals on Amazon. What they did was take the English versions of the books and badly translate them using Google-translate before slapping on a new cover and publishing them as their own books. Not only is this a copyright violation as the original author did not authorize it, but (I hope) Amazon took the books that were found (that we know of) down. I Heart Sapphic did an article here about it. Please, please, please, if you see something suspicious, inform the authors whose hard work deserves credit. These people are only after a fast buck, preying on those who wouldn’t realize that the badly translated foreign version of these books does not reflect the original author’s work, that the author did NOT authorize it, and makes NO money from it.

As those of you who follow this blog of mine know, I’ve been translating many of my books into foreign languages (sorry for the many blogs, but not really sorry as I have so many new foreign-language-speaking followers now). There are literally 3-4 different languages for over 30 of my over 125 plus English-written books, so that means there are 300 or more published books under my name now. Impressive, right? Yes, and no. Yes, it’s been a lot of hard work working with various translators to get them published. Some translators have actually tried that Google-translate bull-shyte stuff, but I do check the translations of my books even if I don’t speak that many languages. I even format them, despite the language barrier (another blog for another time), as well as do my own covers for these foreign-translated books of mine.

My books have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, and now German. I’m working on even more languages as I find those willing to translate Sapphic or Lesbian content.

I don’t know how, or if, we would spot a pirated version of my books, but I do stay on top of checking my books even if there is a plethora of them. I’m not talking about the versions that have been pirated on pirate sites that contain viruses. What those people do is they buy a copy of my book and put it up on their site, attaching a virus so they can steal information on the computers that download the books from their sites. I make NO MONEY other than the original sale, but people download hundreds of copies of my books from those pirate sites, and with the added bonus of a virus, lose a lot of important information, the stolen copies have frequently been altered, and it degrades their computers (it kind of serves them right in my mind). However, I’m still losing money because these sites are so unethically stealing my works and residuals.

So, please, please, please, only buy from legitimate sites, my website has all the links or you can download a copy from my website. I have PDF, Mobi, and ePub available direct from my website. If you see a copy of my books that looks weird, after all I make ALL my own covers too, please email me. I’m readily available on social media and my email address is in each of MY books so you can contact me about any questionable versions of my books.

Those who have claimed they ‘couldn’t get in contact with me’ have obviously not looked that hard. Each book begins with all the links to reach me on social media including my email addresses for both myself and my publishing house.

Thank you for reading my books and looking out after authors whose works may have been stolen by these people with questionable morals. Always, ALWAYS, speak up and protect your lesfic authors, it’s a marginalized group of dedicated writers and helping them keeps up the faith you put into their writings so they can produce more for you to read.

Worst MRI EVER

Today I had to go in for an MRI.  Now you all know my health scare back at the beginning of 2022 where they found a brain mass and I had brain surgery to biopsy it.  Fortunately, it was benign which means it’s not cancer, a real concern to me since I am a cancer survivor and my mother died of brain cancer.  You can read about all this here on my blog if you type into the search engine on the left of my blog.  I’ve detailed my cancer and health journey pretty extensively.

Naturally you would expect checkups to the brain to see if the mass has grown, is moving, or if it’s standing up to be counted.  Well, I’ve since had several trips to the Emergency Room and I had my three months checkup.  It has affected my attitude towards telling my doctors how I’m actually feeling as I don’t want to go in anymore, I don’t want them to stick me with a needle anymore, I’m in pain and they aren’t fixing it anymore.

In June, six months after the surgery I began to experience dizzy spells.  At first it was just the morning thing, you sit up, you go to stand up (not necessarily suddenly) and you feel dizzy, like woah.  Well, this got steadily worse and then I discovered I could bring them on myself by laying back down, bending over, etc.

I was due to have another MRI in November as part of my check ups but because of this dizziness they scheduled the soonest one which was today in August.  Now, because of the fact that it is a brain tumor, they have to do a closed MRI to get the best picture of it instead of an open MRI which has a bit more wiggle room.

Those of you who know me, know I’m a big woman.  Even when I slim down, I can’t hide the fact that I have shoulders that are built for football and I don’t fit in the closed MRI like a normal person.  They literally have to shove me in there and it hurts!  Today was no exception.

I have had many MRIs over the years with my cancer and other health concerns and today was one for the books (pardon the pun). 

I do not blame the health care personnel but damn, my appointment was scheduled for 7:45am, and because they got into their heads that I’m a hard stick, they called and rescheduled it for 6:45am.  I’m a night owl so it only made sense (to me) to stay up and sleep afterwards.  So, I was going in sleep deprived (my own fault, but I was worrying), hungry, and anxious.  For some reason this appointment was causing me to have a LOT of anxiety.  Given what I’ve been through, no wonder why.

With all the chemo and many times I’ve been stuck over the years my veins have scarred over, shrunk, and now hide from the personnel attempting to put in an IV.  This MRI required that they have it with contrast to see the difference in my brain and clearly see the tumor.  I react to that contrast.  It’s not an allergic reaction like you would assume, it’s more of a physical reaction.  In my case, because my shoulders are scrunched painfully in the tube, my neck stiffens up just as painfully.

Today they stuck me five times with the needles to get the IV in successfully.  The first gal, even blew my vein.  I’d just gotten done telling her the tale of how they blew my veins twice the last time and it took three months to heal from that.  Btw, you can still see the bruising on my arm from that time three-months later!  Yes, and I’m not exaggerating!  She was most apologetic but I was just trying to get through this.  I knew my being angry over it and the fact that I was tired and hungry wouldn’t help her do her job.  I really kept myself calm.  She decided after her second stick to call in an RN and if that didn’t work, they were going to do an ultra-sound stick (which I had back the last time I was in the Emergency Room and they blew my veins then!).  Fortunately, after three more sticks, the RN got it and it was a success!  Or, so we thought.

The techs were really concerned when I told them I react to the contrast, asking me the same questions I’d already answered, which is annoying but hey, they weren’t there and it was, at least, noted that I react to this stuff.  They always assume it’s an allergic reaction, they blow me off when I explain it’s a physical reaction. 

Another thing which was annoying me is I’m a chatterbox during these things, part of it is nerves, part of it is that I don’t go anywhere so when I’m out in public, I tell stories.  They cut me off each and every time and not just one person but everyone I ran into this morning.  To be honest, it hurt my feelings.

Finally, I am going into the tube and I did tell them I don’t fit.  Broad shoulders get beat up going into these small, narrow tubes.  It’s no wonder people develop claustrophobia to these things.  I haven’t … yet.  My shoulders do best when I can bring my arms in across my torso so they are ‘pulled in’ and away from the sides.  Nope, they insisted I keep my hands and arms at my sides even though I told them it wouldn’t work.  Sure enough, they hurt me to the point I had to say something as I was jolted side to side into the tube.  They pulled me out again on their automated bed, again squeezing my shoulders against the sides.  Removing their cushions lo and behold when I pulled my arms across my torso a bit, I fit, if uncomfortably. 

Now, you have to lay there through the various scans for forty-five minutes.  Normally, I don’t mind that as I just day dream, um, er, I mean work on a story.  Seriously folks, authors day dream to make their books happen and I’m guilty of that.

They put my head in a cage, which I knew, since I’d gone through this a couple of times already.  I’m a bit OCD about things so, since I could see myself on the mirrors, I made sure my head was aligned to the center.  Thank goodness my nose is straight!  Then, I lay there, thinking about my stories and such.

However, this story isn’t over.  The doctor had ordered contrast with this MRI as I mentioned before.  Once they started pumping in the contrast I yelled out in pain.  My thought at that exact moment was it was too bad I couldn’t scream (I’m not a screamer for the most part, but then, that’s a conversation for another blog).  All I could do was shout out that it hurt, squeeze their little bulb to notify them that something was wrong, and keep shouting that hurts! 

They pulled me out again, banging my shoulders in the process as I tell them my arm is hurting.  It wasn’t just hurting at this point, it was agony.  They don’t remove the cage and I’m trapped there on a bed.  All of my body has stiffened up at this point and my shoulders, which were already hurting, my neck which was stiffening, everything is hurting.  My legs, which are exposed due to their gown (I refused to remove my underwear even though they ‘suggested’ I do so, apparently some synthetic materials these days cause burns with MRI’s and other scans) are restless, twitching, something I had to fight against laying in that tube for so long. 

The tech is rubbing my arm where the IV went in causing the needle to hurt me more!  Turns out they not only blew a vein today but they blew the IV!  The damn thing was administering the contrast not into my vein as it was supposed to, but out under the skin.  While I was trapped there on the table (it’s like a moving slab you see on CSI, shudders), he administered saline and kept rubbing.  The immediate pain subsided and he’s like, “I think we got enough contrast into you to continue with the scan.”  I just wanted to get the hell out of there so I agreed.  I was being very careful not to show my anger but I could sense my face was telling them without my words.  I could do this; I could bear up under the pain.  Every friggin’ joint hurt at this point.  He pulled out the IV which was a relief, and ripped off the tape (ouch), rubbing it all and bandaging it up a little too tight.

When they pulled me out after the last five minutes and told me I could get up and go, I could not rise up off that slab.  My back had seized (I have two herniated discs and two bulging ones from when I sprained my back years ago.  It’s permanent, it’s painful, and it affects other things).  They had to literally pull me into a sitting position with, you guessed it, my sore shoulders and arms.

They explained what happened and I made them explain certain words.  I was tired, I was a wee bit ‘cranky’ shall we say, and my brain wasn’t computing.  I know it annoyed him to use certain words (which I did know, but couldn’t think about the meaning) and I made him explain them to me.  They had me sign a paper acknowledging that he had explained what happened and how it should be treated.  I get that, covering his backside.  I don’t blame him, I really don’t, but I’m sick of my procedures always going wrong.

Driving home, it was still so early and I was tired, out of sorts, probably should not have been driving myself. I got home and slept most of the day away (I hate that by the way, feel like I get nothing done).  My arm has a swelling from the procedure.  It’s about 5-6” long, about 3-4” wide, and about an inch high.  It’s grotesque.

I made it very clear they aren’t getting me in again any time soon.  The guy didn’t seem to understand that I was talking about future procedures.  He thought I meant about doing this again today or something.  S M H.  Seriously, I am so sick of the drama of medical procedures and the beating my body took today.  Now, I await the results.

What I did last week

Okay, I know some of my followers are SICK of seeing foreign translations of my books. But, I’m so proud that they are out there for others to read and enjoy, I have to give each of them a shout-out in each language they are translated into.

Most of you know I couldn’t possibly do all of this myself and I will admit I’m using a platform that allows several translators to work simultaneously on various books at the same time.

But, last week I took the translations of two books and the short stories and novellas contained therein that were already translated and broke them down into the individual short stories and novellas to publish separately. The platform doesn’t allow me to do it there, so I used my own publishing company to do that.

It’s a time-consuming process as I don’t speak each of the languages and do sporadic checks to make sure of some of the titles, the occasional word here and there, etc. Then there is the formatting, and believe me, something gets lost in translation there! Then, there are the covers. It’s a good thing I have over a decade of publishing under my belt and know how to do all that so well. When I am finished there are at LEAST 18 different platforms that my foreign translated books (English too) are out on in the world. How amazing is that?

So please, bear with me as I blog about EACH and EVERY one in the coming days. Ignore your foreign-sounding ones as you get the emails or posts about them if you aren’t interested in them. I’m sorry for filling mailboxes, but I’ve actually picked up quite a few followers who speak Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, etc. I think that is so cool! How amazing that a writer from WisconSIN can reach someone in these far away countries with her stories?

Have a great day, and if you haven’t already, check out my website for the book of your choice, in the language of your choice! With over 125 books out there, I’m CERTAIN there is SOMETHING for your reading (and listening) pleasure! ENJOY!

Bodice Rippers

You know the cover, the kind that titillates, causes envy (because you wanted to be her, maybe), she’s being ravaged…they were all over the place in the ’80s and ’90s from what I remember. I know, I collected Johanna Lindsey’s as seen here. Fabio was the man of choice for a lot of hers as well as other lustful scenes:

There is NOTHING wrong with this, in fact, I noticed that some of these authors have changed their covers to be more boring. No more blatant sexuality. It probably wasn’t their choice since they are under contract with big publishers, but still, some of the newer covers are beyond boring, they are uninteresting and not something I would want on any book!

Let’s face it, sex sells. It captures your attention, shocks you, entices you into reading it.

Even the gay community has it, you know, bare chest, pants so tight you can tell their religion? Their junk clearly outlined. Here is a tasteful one at least:

This is NOTHING against ANY of these authors. I think it a good marketing ploy because there are so many authors out there, unfortunately competing for the reader’s attention. If you have a great cover, that hurdle is considerably lower, and then you draw them in by your fantastically written book…maybe.

Last week I got two emails from Amazon stating they would no longer be promoting my book Doctored because of its cover.

Now, they keep moving the bar, changing the rules, etc so that you can’t comply, even if for years you had been complying. It’s a form of censorship that while I understand the principles, are they across the board with their rules? Are they telling everyone this? Including the hetero authors with their bodice rippers? That’s where the phrase came from after all, not from lesbian fiction. Are they also telling the men’s books with their barely-there clothing on both the men and the women? How about those who write gay fiction?

I know, for a fact that Facebook isn’t fair about it. They made me cover up the cover for Small Town Angel I had on an ad there (see ribbon below) before they would even allow the ad (I also suspect they didn’t really promote, but were more than willing to take my money, that however is a blog for another time). However, they do let hetero covers, such as bodice rippers on the site, I know, I’ve seen Harlequin Romance, Penguin, and the others do it. Oh wait, they are big publishers and their money is much better than a lowly independently published author. It’s not fair in any shape, manner, or form. What’s next? Book burning? Oh wait, we’re already there!

Look out world, I’m not going to stop with my lovely and attractive as well as tasteful covers.

Please take a moment and go to my website and buy it there, it cuts out the middleman such as Amazon and their prudish sensibilities.

I’d love to hear your opinions on this subject and please, feel free to share it with other authors and readers so they can chime in.

Brain Mass Saga…

I really don’t know how to start this blog.  However, it’s going to be long, I may ramble a bit, so please hang in there and enjoy the tale.

As you know in my previous blogs, I’ve been releasing a lot of Spanish books.  For those who didn’t read my blog’s warning about all the releases, you will have to bear with me over the next few days where even more will be released.  I got a lot of friggin’ work done and I’m proud of it, so each and every short story, novella, and novel I got out, get’s a blog of its own, announcing its release.  More to come, because I’m working again.  By the way, this will happen again as I’ve signed contracts in Portuguese and Italian for many of these same stories.  Each and every one will get its own release announcement.  Ignore them if you don’t read that language, I’ll still be announcing them.  But, that’s for later this year.

That isn’t what this blog is about though.  I know that my friends and fans who read this, are hoping for news about the mass in my brain.  I had to wait over two weeks from the surgeon in Wausau telling me about it to get this appointment.  There were delays because we wanted the scans from last week for this ‘best surgeon in the country’ to see.  There was a lot going on in that time because insurance was involved and people kept trying to cancel the appointment for the scans.  I fought very hard to keep those appointments because I KNEW we NEEDED them for the brain surgeon’s appointment yesterday.  They were VERY important, or so I was led to believe.  Here is what happened yesterday.

I live outside Wausau in a relatively small village.  To me, it’s the gateway to the Big Woods of Wisconsin.  Lots of lakes and trees and the Big Woods was made famous by Laura Ingalls Wilder and her descriptions of it in her book by the same name.  It’s a beautiful place to live. 

However, it is a small-town mentality, and dealing with it sometimes is not easy.  After my initial prognosis and fighting to get the scans, I was told that they wanted me to go to the University of Wisconsin in Madison to see ‘the best surgeon in the country’, the surgeon that my neuro-surgeon in Wausau would see if he had the same condition as I did.  Impressive, right?  Madison is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from my village.  I usually don’t mind these kinds of drives but in the last couple of years of inactivity due to the pandemic I am finding my body has aged, my aches and pains are worse, and I’m not so inclined to take such trips.  Still, I had to go to find out what this surgeon recommended.  I did ask, a couple of times, what this appointment was about, was it a full exam that the surgeon HAD to meet me, or was it a meeting that could have been taken care of with zoom?  The nurses and insurance people I spoke with did NOT know. 

It wasn’t until the day before (Sunday) I started getting a bit nervous, after all, I’d seen the MRI scan that showed the mass in my brain.  What some of you do not know is that my mother died of a brain mass, 21 years ago.  Seeing her lose her mind, both literally and figuratively haunts me to this day.  I have a lot of regrets about that time in my life.  And, to return from her funeral that January with pneumonia myself and my son with bronchitis, compounded the whole situation.  Then, four months later I found out I had cancer, lymphoma.  2001 was NOT my year.

I gassed up my little SUV and it cost me $45.00.  Gas prices are high right now and I get that, but I had planned for this.  Money is also tight for me right now and budgeting these things is something I have no choice but to do.  I set out nearly three hours before my appointment because of possible delays.  I am not familiar with the city of Madison and knew I’d have to rely on Google maps to direct me.  Now, those of you who know me, know I have a love/hate relationship with GPS.  It does NOT like me and more often than not has gotten me lost.  Fortunately, today, it directed me to the University of Wisconsin Health Center with only one hiccup…it made me drive across the whole friggin’ town, on town roads instead of the most direct route on a highway to save time.  Every bump on the local roads, every pothole, every street light.  I didn’t mind except that whole long drive, all you have time for is to think, long thoughts that might not be conducive to good things.  But, it got me there, so I was grateful.

Let me tell you, it is impressive.  The university, the whole medical center, it goes on, and on, and ON!  It’s HUGE!   Then, trying to park, what a busy place.  I expected it, but being a hermit, it could have been quite overwhelming, it sort of was.  Then I got the first parking spot (a psychological bonus) and went in.  They would not allow me to wear my cloth mask.  Okaaaay, they gave me a surgical mask which I gladly put on to keep them happy and everyone safe.  I’ve been a big mask proponent from day one of all of this.  They were very kind and directed me to the neurology department.  It reminded me of a garden, modern, but not too modern and friendly.  But damn, people were zipping about and so many of them.  It wasn’t crowded but it was non-stop.  I was early and expected to wait a while.  My phone and reading the news was thwarted by whatever they had set up in the hospital.  Amazingly, I didn’t wait long and the time was filled by filling out a weird little questionnaire that wasn’t very impressive or professional.  Okay, it’s their place of business, I’m just visiting and I’ll do what I’m told.  They show me into an exam room.

The nurse goes to take my weight, my blood pressure, and I politely ask that she do that by hand because I always get hurt by the pressure cuff.  I have big arms, from the days where I used to work out, and all that has turned to fat and it hurts when they use an automated machine to take the pressure.  She didn’t really show it, but I could tell she was annoyed by the request.  However, another nurse told me a while back that this request was not unusual and if it’s my preference to always ask for it, so I did.  This nurse hurt me with her overinflation of the cuff, what I was trying to avoid with the automated one.  Ah well, maybe it was an accident.  She took some basics and then left me alone.  And alone.  And alone.

I am NOT happy

I started texting a friend, since that was the only thing that worked on my phone.  Letting her know what was going on.  After nearly an hour though, my patience was wearing thin.  Now, some will tell you I am NOT a patient person, I’m one of them that will tell you that.  However, in my defense, it depends on what the something is that I’m having to be patient about.  Leaving me in an examination room, no magazines, no word on how long the doctor will be, no nothing, is about respect.  Furthermore, there was some type of machinery in the next room that sounded like an oxygen pump going off continually, and it was loud.  Then, the fluorescent light above me in the room started flickering.  Guess what I was focusing on, the noise and the light.  Twenty minutes and they should come and tell you, hey, we haven’t forgotten about you, but we are aware that your time is valuable and will be with you as soon as possible.  That is respect.  That is acknowledging that your time is just as important as theirs.  At forty minutes, I’m starting to fume a bit, I’m thinking of leaving but my friend points out that I’d be spiting myself, since I fought so hard to get to this point, drove so long, etc.  Good point.  However, I didn’t say I’d leave the building, but I was thinking I would seek out someone as to why I was being treated like this? 

It was nearly an hour before a nurse came in.  I let her know in no uncertain terms how I felt about being kept waiting for nearly that hour.  Now, this isn’t my first rodeo about this type of disrespect and they always come up with, well, we have other patients, blah, blah, blah.  I am not stupid.  I’m fully aware of the fact that there are other patients and I expect to get my doctor’s full attention for the time I am with them too.  I expect they too expect to be treated with respect.  Leaving me in that room for that amount of time without a heads up as to what is going on is not respectful.  I let her know that.  For some reason, she jumped to the conclusion that I wanted to cancel my appointment right then and there and leave.  No, that was not what I was saying at all.  I calmed a bit and we both ignored the rude way they had treated me and went over their lame questionnaire, her asking me to fill in the blanks on my medical records that they had.

Since 2001 I have been very well aware of the mistakes that can be made in a medical office.  The gaps here though, in 2022 in a facility such as this, were unacceptable.  I had non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2001.  I took an experimental treatment with Stanford.  All of this I have blogged about before and you can look it up in the search bar above.  I won’t repeat it all here, now.  However, they had down on their medical records that I had both Hodgkins Lymphoma, and non-Hodgkins.  There were other things that were wrong as well.  The nurse had no problem deleting some of the information but it made me think, how easy it is to delete information off my medical records.  This could be good and bad.  Something I asked her to put on there was that at no time was I EVER to be given narcotics, especially in the form of anesthesia.  I always react badly to this, and have told every medical person I come in contact with, because they friggin’ DON’T listen and I’ve been given this crap, only to be sick for days and weeks afterwards with projectile vomiting.  No kidding.  Gross, and you probably didn’t want to know about this, but it’s important.  There are alternatives to putting narcotics in anesthesia.  Some doctors are lazy and don’t want to research what they are though and narcotics are the easiest way to put a patient out.  I’ve experienced this before and suffered as a result.

By the way, those scans I had fought so hard to have done, so this surgeon would have the complete picture, hadn’t even made their way down into their system here in Madison.  Only the notes someone had compiled who had read the scans!  Wow, sure glad I made such an effort (this is sarcasm).

The surgeon I was expecting first of all I had been led to believe was a man.  In walked a nice woman who introduced herself as my surgeon.  I was confused, but trying to go with the flow.  My first impressions about this place and the wait had not put me in an especially good mood.  I thought perhaps I should just calm down and see what was going on.  The nurse started repeating the information to the doctor, going over everything we had just gone over, and getting it WRONG!  Good thing I was there to correct her but at the same time, I felt my input was not appreciated.  Um, hello, it’s my medical care and it’s important to me!  I realize they see hundreds of patients but if you don’t advocate for your own health, your own well-being, then these people are going to make mistakes.  I’d already seen several of them.  After going over part of the information the nurse suddenly and abruptly left me alone with the surgeon.

Now, this surgeon, while she seemed like a nice person, was mumbling and that bothered me as I have to understand what she is going to do.  She didn’t do anything at this meeting.  I was getting the same meeting I’d had back in Wausau with the neurosurgeon there, but now 2.5 hours away in Madison.  What a friggin’ waste of my time and energies.  She told me she wanted to do a biopsy of the mass.  I’d already been told this.  She is a surgeon; she’s going to want to operate.  That’s what they do, don’t they?  She told me that they needed another MRI.  She’d been told I didn’t do closed MRIs because of my wide shoulders, and because it hurts.  She seemed to take pleasure out of informing me that she needed a closed MRI despite the fact that she knew it would hurt me.  Seriously?  She did explain that a closed MRI would give her a better scan, a better map of my brain.  That an open MRI ‘fills in the gaps and those gaps are blurry.  Okay, that’s logical.  Still, I couldn’t forget the pleasure she got at the idea this was going to cause me pain.  She also insisted it had to in Madison instead of having one that was convenient to my home.  Hell, the open MRI is literally 1.5 miles from my home, I could walk (except for the temperatures this time of year).

I pointed out that it was a long drive down here and asked after the surgery would I be able to drive myself home?  She asked if I had driven myself here to this appointment and, startled, I replied I had.  This seemed to bother her for some reason.  No one has told me at this point I can’t drive.  She became condescending a little and said that social services would arrange for a social worker to help me.  That they would arrange for me to be driven to and from the surgery.  I bristled at her tone and the words social worker, as though I was too inept to make my own decisions.  Her tone further bothered me, and her mumbling.  She also jumped on the fact that I’d had lymphoma in the past and seemed to think that this was a reoccurrence, causing the mass.  I am skeptical, after twenty-one years?  I don’t think so.  My confidence in this ‘surgeon’ was not there, at all.

She left me as I couldn’t think of more questions.  I did know and told her that I would think up more on my way home.  She said I could call her office.  I pointed out it wasn’t easy to get through to her office and she smiled and left, telling me her nurse would be back to schedule the MRI appointment and the surgery.  I waited, and I waited, and I waited…AGAIN!  After the way I had already been treated, disrespected even, I walked out.  Enough already. 

I called the other neurosurgeon’s office once I got back to my SUV.  It was already late in the day and all I got was a phone nightmare of press one for this and two for that.  I finally got someone on the phone who took my message, asking the name of the surgeon I was referred to.  I didn’t tell them on the phone but I felt the original surgeon I had been told I’d be seeing, had been switched.  I was promised the A-Team and got the B-Team instead.  I wasn’t important enough for them to give me the best.  The woman on the phone informed me there was nothing in my records indicating WHO I had been referred to!  WHAT?  Apparently, it just said UW Health, not the name of the neurosurgeon who they told me was the best in the country.  WTH?

On my way out of town, I stopped at a couple of stores we do not have up here in the Northwoods.  The GPS got me there no problem.  It was as I was trying to leave town for home that the familiar GPS problem arose.  This exact same problem had happened one other time in leaving Madison.  For some reason, the GPS instead of sending me slightly east and then north, wants to send me west.  I caught the error within twelve miles and turned around, the GPS was NOT happy.  I turned it off and used dead reckoning and my own innate good sense to counter it wanting me to go a helluva long way out of my way to get home.  I took highways to the interstate to head home.  Not even halfway I realized I needed to stop, not only for a bathroom break, but to gas up again, and to get some dinner.  I was becoming sleepy and it was already dark, not a good combination and I had over 100 miles to go yet.

Unfortunately, I took the wrong off-ramp from the interstate and got lost in a town, unable to find my way back to the interstate.  I wandered around for quite a while until I found the road I had originally thought I was getting off on, stopped for gas (another $31), bathroom, and then went across the street for dinner.  I sat in the parking lot to eat part of it, take some caffeine intake (soda, which I have to limit with my stomach), and to further contemplate what had happened to me.  I have to admit, I’m in shock at the appalling way I have been treated.  I did not finish my dinner, but found my way back onto the interstate. 

That amount of time is a lot of time to think, alone in an SUV with nothing to distract you.  Yes, I’m concentrating on my driving, because, you know, deer in Wisconsin are those big white-tailed deer who have a tendency to want to get hit on the interstate.  BUT, a lot had happened to me in the last few weeks including the death of friends…as I wrote in a previous blog my friend Carrie had died.  I was passing her hometown on my travels and couldn’t help but think of that and her.  Thirty-eight years is a long time to know someone.  I do miss a lot about her and the fact I can’t call her and talk to her.  A lot of regrets there.

So, this is my tale of waiting on this much-anticipated appointment.  They built it up as so important, so vital to my care, that I thought I have to get down to Madison for this.  Come hell or high water, I had to see this surgeon.  What a letdown.  It will be interesting to see the fallout in the coming days from this.  I’m incredulous at these behaviors and will not put up with being disrespected like this.

Like why did I have to pay over $70 in gas to get there for an appointment that could have been taken care of, realistically, by zoom?  Why waste five hours of my driving time for this?  Another hour in the exam room to be only partly listened to?  For this, I showered?  Shaved?  Put on a bra?  Really??

Stay tuned…

Covid 19

In January 2020 I went on a weekend away with my then girl-friend.  This was just as Covid19 was making the news.  We had a wonderful time together, as we always did.  There were a few glitches in getting her to WisconSIN, but when they delayed her plane for the second or third time, I’m like, I’m coming to get you.  I’d driven down from the Northwoods that morning, was in Milwaukee by the time her plane was to arrive, but there were delays in Chicago.  She was stuck and I had nothing to do but twiddle my thumbs so Chicago is a 90-minute drive, why not go get her?  (Sidenote, I made it in under 90-minutes). 

As I stated, we always had wonderful weekends together staying at the Pfister in Milwaukee.  It’s a wonderful historical piece and I’ll always be grateful that the Marcus family (think Marcus theaters) bought it and refurbished it to its former glory.  We loved staying there.

That weekend though, the girlfriend ended up with a cold.  It was that time of year and understandable since traveling, even wearing a mask, doesn’t mean you won’t get the requisite cold and ague.  She was so apologetic, but it wasn’t her fault.  We still had a lovely time together and I’ll remember it fondly.

Later that week, after she had left to go back home, I started to develop a cold.  I didn’t think much of it, again, the time of year, and she had been sick, so I was getting her cold, right?  Well, 6-8 weeks later, it wasn’t just a cold.  I had hot-flashes, night-sweats, sleeplessness, then too much sleep, naps, aches and pains, and all sorts of lovely side-effects.  I called my doctor at week five but according to her, I couldn’t possibly have Covid because it wasn’t in Milwaukee at that time.  Um, yeah, right.  I asked to be tested, they refused.

Well, once I got over my ‘cold’ I realized a few things.  I couldn’t sleep at night and then I was falling asleep all the time, unable to wake up.  I couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t write as a result, and couldn’t function as I used to.  Whatever that ‘cold’ was, it wiped me out, and I do mean wiped, me, out.  It was horrible.  Trying to get out books for my authors, do the accounting, even trying to do the Lesfic Bard Awards, was TERRIBLE!  I simply couldn’t function, couldn’t concentrate, oh look, squirrel. 

I had been doing audio books, getting them out, but those I could pause and take a nap and come back to.  The mental agility needed for those wasn’t the same as writing a book.  I did manage to squeak out two novellas, but that was all.  Almost nothing since.

I finally decided to go see another doctor.  But, after 7-8 months, guess what, there are no anti-bodies in my blood to show if I had Covid or not.  However, in my opinion, if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, and the after effects are just as ducky, it’s a duck.  The after-effects are almost always exactly what people have described.  The long-term effects at least.

It’s been a horrible year and a half; the depression was mind-numbing (what mind I still had).  The people who should know either didn’t understand, or refused to understand.  My friends and colleagues, for the most part have been understanding, and let me tell my story.  That’s another thing, I’ve always tended to repeat myself (the results of having raised children who didn’t always listen) but now, I can’t remember if I told people the same thing, over and over again.

So, I decided to self-medicate, because the professionals don’t believe me or aren’t listening to my complaints, and I need, desperately need, to write all these stories that have come to me.  Sure, I’ve gotten in a paragraph here and there, written down ideas, but stories, nope.  The mental faculties to sit down and write, obsessively like I have in the past, nope, that’s all gone.  I did have one day in spring 2021 that made me feel like I was back to normal, writing like I used to, but one day after a year of nothing?  That isn’t a good percentage.  So, I tried some things.  I even, when I went for an interview, stopped in the next state to pick up some legalized CBD and THC in things to try.  It didn’t work, I had some fun, but having never tried it before (where it worked), don’t know if that is normal.  Then, a fellow author and friend suggested something that I researched and tried, it helped, I can tell, and I was able to write.  Now, my doctor is saying, don’t take that, it interferes with your thyroid medication, sigh.  So, I’m off to experiment some more.

Meanwhile, I’m here to announce that I do have a book done and I hope to get it out soon, if I don’t go crazy from the after-effects of Covid.  Your understanding is appreciated.

Sexualized Content

Well, apparently Amazon has determined that my book Small Town Angel has SEXUALIZED CONTENT. Now, I get it that some straight people have a problem with Lesbian Fiction but for crying out loud, from the cover alone they are determining that I should not be allowed to advertise on amazon accordingly?

Here is the cover:

This is the message I got from Amazon:

The following ads are non-compliant to creative acceptance policies :

  • Your ad titled “Small Town Angel” no longer complies with our current Creative Acceptance Policies. Specifically for the following reasons:
    • Your ad contains overly sexualized content. This includes sexually suggestive poses emulating a sexual position or alluding to sexual activity (whether clothed or unclothed), such as the parting of the legs or the accentuation of the hip, along with amorous or sexually passionate facial expressions. Additionally images should not: draw undue attention to body parts, such as breasts or buttocks, in a sexual way; depict minors in sexual situations; display suggestive undressing, such as pulling down a bra strap or underwear; display models in sexual lingerie such as stockings, suspenders or paraphernalia such as whips and chains; display provocative embraces or embraces in a provocative setting such as in a shower or on a bed.

Well, doesn’t that mean that all the ‘Bodice Rippers’ out there in straight-hetero land should not be advertised on there either? I also have to wonder because Facebook enacted a policy like this on me years ago, this is how I got around it then:

I am so tired of the double-standards for the straight world vs the LGBT community. This is just two incidents of it and it is really getting old. Nothing shows, there are no nipples or genitalia. Heck, I think I see more on TV than you would on these covers. It’s just ridiculous.

What can we do though? Amazon is the biggest retailer of our products. I do notice none of the other 18 outlets I market books on have a problem with this particular cover…hmmmm.

Does this mean I’m going to stop promoting this book, heck no. Does this mean I won’t stop using ‘racy covers’, nope. Looking forward to eventually getting back to writing after a year hiatus.

Instagram

As many of you may know, Instagram is owned by Facebook. Since my FB account was deleted by them before Xmas, they also deleted my Instagram account. Since then, I’ve learned a few things.

A week or so before FB deleted my account, my Instagram account was hacked. Since I don’t use it often, I didn’t find that out right away. I’m thinking this ultimately led to FB’s deletion of my account along with the other infractions they felt I had been doing.

There is a K’Anne Meinel Instagram account out there pretending to me…I don’t think it is my original one. Unless FB didn’t delete it and is simply not letting me access it? I don’t know, I can’t see it. Frustrating and a bit of catch-22?

Two of my Google mail accounts were hacked. Fortunately Gmail was not compromised, but I did have to change passwords. The report stated there were attempted logins from Russia. I haven’t left the Northwoods in quite some time and I’m pretty sure I have never been to Russia. Nyet!

I’m not wallowing in self-pity here, some of this I did deserve, after all I posted too much (according to FB). I apparently am an influencer (as if I have any power of any kind there), and I’m a socially prominent lesbian (yeah, right). Let’s face it, we all know FB is homophobic. The frat guys that started it are still in power, still living that mentality, and homophobic. Also, when the Asian farms they contracted with to run FB when the Earth is turned and in their hemisphere (and America is asleep), it’s actually illegal in some of those countries to be a homosexual. So then, they put their social mores, some of their country rules and regulations on the rest of us. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

Anyway, thought I’d let you all know what’s going on now…sigh.

Facebook deleted my account

Some of you may have noticed my absence (some didn’t or didn’t care) from the social media giant this week. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but after 10 years of social networking, building up my account, they suspended and then, with the appeal, I got the above notice. It’s depressing, demoralizing, and a little annoying…okay, a lot annoying after all my hard work.

Did I misrepresent myself? Nope, I am who I say I am, although many times people accused me of such. Don’t like me? Scroll on by, ignore, or unfriend. No skin off my nose.

Did I use multiple facebook accounts? Yep, I did and still do. Because, in the days when you could have funny names I had one that read Benefits Youknowit. That way you could be ‘Friends with benefits’ which I thought was hilarious. In lieu of the crackdown over there at FB Central, and the stalker I had who immediately reported me, I had to change the Benefits account to a ‘real’ name and identity, which I did. It was, and is, K’Anne without the apostrophe…so, it appeared I had two accounts with my name. Some caught it, asked me, others caught it and told me that someone was using my name that way and I explained.

You see, FB considers me an ‘influencer’. I don’t know how that came about and I never actively sought it, but I do have a lot of groups I am an admin for, active in there, and I do post, a LOT because as an author, we need to be seen and heard. I also have pages that I’m active on. Now…with all the times I was in FB Jail I got smart and started removing K’Anne (yes, I’m talking about myself in the third person, bear with me) from active rolls on these pages because FB was dinging me for literal years. I would go a day, a week, and months without them doing anything and then suddenly it was like three months, or in the case of about six years ago, three years of constantly being in and out of restriction. When they threatened to take away my account back then, I just stopped posting as much. But, it’s like an insidious worm and you start posting, a little more, and then a lot more without even realizing you are doing that. Not only posting about my books, but about the Lesfic Bard Awards and then the Gay Scribe Awards. Now, I’m not trying to say FB is homophobic, I AM SAYING FB IS HOMOPHOBIC and I’ve been dinged by them saying my posts were inappropriate, when I actually got some of the very same meme’s OFF OF FB! I can’t tell you how many times my posts about the Gay Scribe Awards got dinged, reported, and hidden by FB because someone reported them. Just the word ‘Gay’ seems to be a trigger. For some reason the word ‘Lesbian’ triggers them less (let me guess it intrigues the homophobes more?). Anyway…it is what it is, right?

This time, I got dinged for things I didn’t even do, it was things that happened in my groups by others, or, so I ‘think’ as they didn’t tell me exactly. Just that I needed to confirm my identification, and then, with their wonderful updates which don’t work, we all know that, it wouldn’t even ACCEPT my identification. I had to find a back door, and, as a former computer programmer, there is always a back door, and I found one. I was able to upload my passport to prove who I was. They took five days to refuse to allow my account once again as you see by the notice posted above.

Now, I’m not angry, I’m resigned. After all, it’s FB’s game and we’re all the pieces they need to play it. We are their product. Am I going to go off in a huff because they won’t let me play? Nope. I hope those of you who follow me here or on my pages on FB will find me there and befriend me again. I enjoy chatting with my many friends and I appreciate the fans who follow me as well. So, look me up, it’s K’Anne, without the apostrophe.

Look for the maskless lesfic author on social media near you….