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NaNoWriMo Check in: Day 17

Hey All You NaNo Writers:

Day 17 of NaNoWriMo:

For those of you participating in NaNoWriMo 2016 I just wanted to check in & see how everyone is doing.

Me: Well we're past the half way mark and I'm on schedule. I'm at 39, 070 words. Fortunately, I took advantage of the first week and managed several high word count days. I still haven't had a Rachel Aaron 10K Day, but thanks to Rachel's website and her amazing book 2000 to 10,000: How to write faster, write better, and write more of what you love. I had a few 5K days. This really helped out, because this past week it's been hard to find writing time. If I hadn't jumped so far ahead the first week, I'd be behind now.

I also attribute my writing fast success to author Lisa Cron and her amazing book Story Genius. If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it. Cron changed the way I pre-plot and my writing has benefited. Knowing so much about my characters and their backstory enabled me to write faster and better. I haven't suffered writer's block ... not once since implementing Cron's technique. Visit her at Lisa Cron: Wired for Story

I'm psyched about her Story Genius 10 Week Course. I'd hoped to sign up for her course after NaNo, but I'll have to wait until the next course is available. I might look into her Story Coaching and Consulting if I finish my psychological thriller/domestic noir NaNo story: The Next Wife.

So, those of you participating in NaNo, how's it going. 

Have you participated in any of the Twitter #NaNoWordSprints?

See you all in December. Happy NaNo'ing

NaNoWriMo 2016: Are You Writing a Novel This November

It's Time for NaNoWriMo Again:

NaNoWriMo 2016 Begins November 1, 2016

NaNo began in 1999 with few writers and it rapidly spread to over 431,000 writers tapping away on their keyboard last November 2015 - (almost a half a million) with one thought in their heads:

Get across the finish line. Complete a novel. Write 50,000 words. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Do we write 50,000 words of crap? Can those words be revised and edited into something that resembles a halfway decent manuscript. Ask the plethora of people who've landed agents and publishing contracts from their NaNo manuscripts and they'll tell you, "Hell Yea!"

Many others have a dim view and less favorable opinion of the work they produce while cramming words together in one month. I suppose the outcome of your novel has much to do with the amount of planning you put into your novel prior to November 1st. But wait, you say ... isn't that cheating? I thought you weren't allowed to begin writing until the first day of November. 

True dat!

Very true. And in the past, I did zilch, that's right, nada ... nothing ... until day one. Then I opened my notebook (I'm still a pen and paper girl who gets her creative spark when the pen touches the paper) so I have to write my manuscript by longhand and then transcribe it onto my laptop. Double work. I'm getting better. I brainstorm my scenes in longhand and now I'm able to type the first draft.

But, there's nothing in the rule book that prevents us from doing a whole lotta prep work prior to November 1st. I wish I had culled this or practiced this during my first few attempts at NaNo. You can work on your character charts, character backstories, your premise, concept, plot points, pinch points, plants, set ups, reveals etc. If you're writing a mystery or thriller you can try out a a few different villains and potential endings. I don't just do work ups on my protagonist, I also do an extensive work up on my detective and my villain. I gleaned this from the book I just finished reading, which by the way is one of the best books on the writing craft I've ever read and I've read them all.

I just completed Story Genius by Lisa Cron and I can only say I wish I had read this amazing book at least two months prior to NaNo. Lisa Cron has changed the way I think about writing character arcs and how to tie the character's past into the story so that readers will truly care about your story. Plot is nothing if readers don't resonate with your characters. If your readers don't know why your character is doing something or what the impact or consequence is for the character, then readers won't care about your book. That is as simple as I can state what she so brilliantly lays out in her book.
If you buy only one writer's craft book this year, buy this book. If you only have time to read one chapter before you begin your NaNo project, you must read and learn how to apply chapter 7.
Read more about Lisa Cron Here. She is also the author of Wired For Story.

Angela Ackerman highly recommend Lisa Cron's Story Genius Author Accelerator Course

Pros & Cons of NaNo:


  1. You learn discipline, whether you finish your manuscript or not. You learn the BISHOK ...butt in seat, hands on keyboard, mentality. Writing close to 2000 words per day is bound to teach you discipline. It's like participating in the A to Z challenge. Anything that requires writing every singe day, is a good thing, in my opinion. You don't have the option or luxury of procrastinating. For me, this is benefit numero uno.
  2. It feels good to get your novel out of your head and onto paper or on the computer.
  3. It's rewarding to know you can accomplish such a challenge
  4. Once you complete NaNo, all of your ideas that were stored in your head, on sticky notes, your iPhone, tablet, scattered notebooks, torn off pieces of scratch paper, and god knows where else ... now they are all organized in one place. 
  5. You give yourself permission to write quickly and write badly which allows the creative, right side of your brain to overpower your inner editor and when you read back through what you/ve penned you will be amazed and some of the juicy tidbits and nuggets that you've written. You will write in such a frenzy that you won't even recognize some of the raw, powerful, visceral work you produced.
  6. You will become a better writer, regardless of whether your book becomes published
  7. You will have a complete book, ready to revise, come December 1st.
  8. Once you complete NaNo, all other writing contests, will seem so much easier. Writing your next book will be much easier.
  9. You writing craft will improve 
  10. Once you've completed NaNo, you know you can meet a deadline
  11. You have permission to shut the rest of the world off. Your spouse and kids get to take care of the housework, cooking, cleaning, dog walking and more for just one month. When that sign is up that says "Do not disturb." They know better and chances are they will bring you dinner, coffee, wine, chocolate or whatever it is they know you love.


  1. Technically, the rules require that you begin a new novel. You are not permitted to work on a manuscript that you've already started. So, if you're knee deep into a novel and you're really hitting your stride, making damned good progress ... do you want to stop that forward movement and lose your motivation to begin a novel that you don't know anything about? It can be a distraction. You have to choose what's best for you. I made the wrong choice two years ago. I couldn't stop thinking about the novel I'd been working on. It occupied my mind the entire time I tried to concentrate on my newer work. At the end of November, I attempted to revise the mess I made in November. January came and went and I never really felt the same strong pull toward that original novel. It's now shelved.
  2. For those of your who work during the day, and have a family and other obligations,  2000 words per day can be a difficult task. It's frustrating when you get further and further behind.
  3. If you're a regular blogger, you'll need to decide whether to skip the month of November altogether or prepare your posts in advance. You won't have time to visit many blogs for leisurely reading and commenting.
  4. If you travel for the week of Thanksgiving or have house guest for that entire week, it can add enormous stress to your life.
  5. Because you are working against the clock to put numbers (words) on the board ... your finished product will be crap. But, all first drafts are crap.

In my opinion the pros far outweigh the cons. You'll never know if you don't try.

If you need some help or tips getting started. The best place to turn is Writers Helping Writers

Check out their NaNo Triage Center

Raimey Gallent is hosting a NaNoWriMo2016 Blog & Social Media Hop

If you're not already a member of One Stop For Writers Now would be an excellent time to join.

Jami Gold has a boat load of advice to help you with NaNo

Don't do NaNo without Roz Morris' Doing NaNo? Nail it With this Resource Kit

And probably the most comprehensive list of tips I've come across, don't miss Kelsie Engen's 23 Tips & Resources for NaNoWriMo - She's broken it down into 23 relatively short post. You can skip around and find the posts that are most helpful to you. But, do read this blog. You won't be disappointed. 

So, what's the verdict? With only 4 days left? Are you in or out?

Do you have any tips to share? Pros or cons?

If you're participating, how much prep work do you do in advance? What's are you writing?

I'm writing a psychological thriller/domestic noir. 

Title: The Next Wife

Something different than my usual legal thriller. I have a great idea in my head, but I'm still working on the pitch. Hopefully I'll have it narrowed down to one line, under 30 words by Monday so I can try it out on you. I'll need some feedback. No need to be kind.  Agents won't. So let me have it.

If I Were a Mobster



Announcing 30 Seconds Before
Chrys Fey

Prequel to 30 Seconds


Blake Herro is a cop in the Cleveland Police Force. Ever
since he was a child he wanted to do right by the city he loved by cleaning up
the streets and protecting its citizens. Red, a notorious mobster, has other

On a bitter December night, ten police officers are drawn
into a trap and killed by Red’s followers. Blake wants to bring down the Mob to
avenge his fallen brothers and to prevent other cops from being murdered.
Except the only way he can do that is by infiltrating the Mob.

Every minute he’s with these mobsters he’s in danger.
Around every corner lies the threat of coming face to face with a gun. Will he
make it out of the Mob alive or will he be their next victim?


To celebrate, 30 Seconds, the follow up story, is on sale for 99 cents!

Sale Oct. 21st – Nov. 4th



Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series (Hurricane
Crimes and Seismic Crimes), as well as these releases from The Wild Rose Press:
30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter

Congratulations to Chrys! 

And now ... If I were a Mobster:

You gotta break a lot eggs to get into my family.  But, I keep my hands clean. I'm the Don's Consiglieri. In fact I'm Consiglieri to the Capo Di Tutti Capi, so I mean business. And yes, that's different than the just being any old hard case. If you want a sit down with the boss you gotta go through me. If you're part of our family and you circumvent me, you just might end up whacked. If you belong to another family we'll be hitting the mattresses. No amount of hush money is gonna get you any favors. Turks gotta wait their turn behind the mustache Pete's. Our family is big on omertà. No infamita allowed. You gotta beef, you come to me first.

My Mobster Profile:

My Mobster Name: Sugar with a Twist Gold 

My Rank: Consigliere 

My Racket: Nothing dirty, just handling the money end of business. I'm the advisor, lawyer, and boss to everyone else in the family. They listen to me and respect what I have to say, but my hands stay clean. I give advice when needed and the rest of the time I handle money and make sure things run smoothly. I'm against violence. I value good ole Louisiana politics. 

Family Business: Gambling and Horses. Bookmaking is our number one source of income. We own a lot of video poker machines and casinos. The law doesn't mind too much as long as they get their cut. We are also into garbage disposal and waste management. We own a lot of video poker machines and casinos. We aren't into narcotics. Too much heat. 

Weapon of Choice: My mind ... if that fails ... a biscuit.

Vices: Gambling and the occasional banana race

Biggest Attribute: I'm a woman who knows more than I let on about my husband's business. I don't ask a lot of questions, but I'm no slouch. I play my cards close to the vest and people underestimate me. I use that to my advantage.

My Catch Phrase: Not Guilty or no comment

People I Most Admire: Meyer Lanskey, Huey Long, Edwin Edwards, Carlos Marcello

Now please hop around to the other participants:

Top 10 Psychological Thrillers You Should be Reading

Top 10 Tuesday:

Domestic Noir & Psychological Thrillers 

This genre has captured our attention ever since the breakout novels Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train swept the world. There's something creepy and disturbing about flawed characters and families with deep, twisted secrets.

You already know, if you read my review of A Line of Blood by Ben McPherson that I'm hooked on this genre.

I just finished reading  The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena and will post a review next week. Wow! What a disturbing family, full of secrets. The booked got mixed reviews, but most people loved it. I think you either love this genre or you don't. I loved the book ... hated the ending, but that didn't change my opinion of the book. It's filled with plot twists, but you'll have to wait for the review.

My TBR List:

  1. The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti
  2. The Widower's Wife by Cate Holahan
  3. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
  4. The Women in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  5. The Perfect Girl by Gilly MacMillan
  6. The Girl Before by Rena Olsen
  7. Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner
  8. The Other Child by Lucy Atkins
  9. The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter
  10. Home by Harlan Coben
Have you read any of these books? Do you have any recommendations?

10 Best Fictional Detectives

My Top 10 List: Fictional Detectives:

Monday - Mystery, Murder & Mayhem

What makes some of the best fictional detectives tick? What are the flaws they must overcome in order to solve the mystery? They always catch the The bad Guys

We fall in love with our favorite detectives because of and in spite of their quirks, ticks, habits, mannerisms. Whatever it is, we keep coming back for more — from our favorite detectives. 

My list of The Best Fictional Detectives: In no Particular Order

1. Andy Sipowitz - NYPD Blue. Andy begins the show as a sloppy drunk. His own partner is fed up with him. He’s gruff,  a racist, a bigot, and never says the right thing. He does solve cases. His character transforms more than any other over his nine years on NYPD Blue, I can’t think of another fictional detective whose undergone such a dramatic character transformation. Perhaps it was losing his son. Or the murder of his wife. Or losing his best friend and partner. Or maybe it was when he married Connie and they became a family of five.  For whatever reason, Andy softens & becomes more tolerable. This is evidenced by his very real friendship with the John, the gay PPA (police public assistant). Despite his flaws he’s fiercely loyal, even to those he believes don’t like him or have wronged him.  He takes up for African American Lt. Fancy — they were at each other’s throats for much of the show. He even goes to bat for his superior, a former Internal Affairs Investigator when he discovers he’s gay. 

2. Robert Goren - Law and Order— Criminal Intent- Bobby is different. He’s smart enough to solve every crime but it is usually his intuition and controversial interrogation techniques that lead to the suspect’s confession. When he’s on the scene, absolutely nothing is overlooked. He has a unique sense of smell. Bobby was never well liked by his colleagues and with his brother’s death, his mother’s mental illness and discovering that he’s the son of a serial killer, Bobby finally spiraled out of control. His love/hate relationship with recurring character, Nicole Wallace, his nemeses, the cold and calculated murderer were always my favorite episodes. 

3. Carrie Mathison - Homeland -While not actually a detective, Carrie Mathison is an agent with the CIA and she hunts terrorists. She’s a little crazy, but that adds to her depth and charm. The character suffers from bipolar disorder and it’s rather refreshing to see a show truly focus on the disease and how if affects the person suffering from the disease, but also her family and friends and those around here. We get to see how Carrie works to solve cases when she is manic and off her meds. Regardless of her condition she attacks every case with a reckless need to solve the case at all cost and it’s a pleasure to watch Claire Danes in this role. Her bipolar disorder causes her to become overly obsessed with suspects. She fell in love with the man she hunted as a terrorist — she’d pegged him early on. She foresaw Brody turning on his country. Because of her obsession and her inability to control her spontaneous knee-jerk actions and reactions, No one believed her about Brody. 

4. Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe - Best know for his part in hardboiled crime fiction. My favorite book/movie staring this character is The Big Sleep. They don’t make em’ like Marlowe anymore. He’s a wise ass, hard drinking, smart as hell, womanizing detective from the old days. His gruffness is softened a little when he’s with women he loves and by his love of poetry and chess. 

5. Colombo. His overcoat and overall disheveled appearance give him the advantage as many criminals underestimate him. He’s know for the famous line, “Oh and I just one more thing.” He always has that one last question that knocks his suspect off guard.

6. Raylan Givens - Justified - Raylan first appeared in Elmore Leonard’s novel Pronto (1993) then reappeared in Fire in the Hole. The television show Justified is a spin off from the character in Fire in the Hole. Raylan breaks all the rules and doesn’t fit the profile of a federal law enforcement officer. He’s true, authentic and gets the job done. A sexy cowboy who can talk his way out of just about any situation — and if that fails, he’s an excellent marksman.  He’s loyal to the few who’ve earned his loyalty. He’s by far a good guy and we want him on our side, but he’s not above breaking a few laws to get the bad guy. For Justified’s Raylan Givens — The end JUSTIFIES the means.

7. Monk - Monk suffers from OCD and his obsessive compulsive disorder allows him to notice clues and things that just don’t fit the crime scene that other detectives overlook. It also provides comedic relief during tense situations.

8. Dave Robicheaux - From the author James Lee Burke, Robicheaux has appeared in numerous novels and some films. He’s a cynical recovering alcoholic who trolls the swamps of Louisiana, in New Iberia. He breaks all the rules, bends the law, but he catches the bad guy.

9. Harry Bosch - Hieronymous Bosch, half brother to the flawed defense attorney Micky Haller from Michael Connely’s books and film, The Lincoln Lawyer. Harry grew up with a prostitute mother and didn’t know who his father was. He’s cynical, but he’s one of the good guys and he’s often up against not only the bad guys, but his own people on the force including his boss. He always catches the dirt bag, bad guy.

Harry’s Motto: “Everybody counts or nobody counts.”

10. Debra Morgan - Dexter - Foul mouthed, uncouth, sharp, witty, intelligent detective who had to claw her way to the top. She lived in her brother’s (Dexter — the serial killer, blood spatter expert) shadow. She’s flawed. She always felt their dad preferred Dexter over her. She makes horrible choices in men, but her intuition is always spot on. Talk about a flawed detective. Debra’s entire stint can be seen as her trying to prove to herself, her brother, her colleagues and her dead father that she’s every bit as good as the rest of the boys. She’s crass, vulgar, headstrong and determined, but she’s also emotionally raw and lonely. She spends all her time trying to prove herself worthy, when she’s already one of the best, if not the best detective in the group. 

Who are your favorite fictional detectives? What do you like about them? Is it the way they act, talk, dress, fool the bad guys? 

Part 2 of my Sweet 16 Party Planning & Prep work will be on Thursday. I initially said it would be Tuesday. If you missed Part 1 Sweet 16 Party Planning Ideas you can read it here.

Tips for an Amazing Super Sweet 16 Party

Amazing Super Sweet Sixteen: Plan, Prepare & Party

Planning a Sweet 16 that your daughter will never forget

Is it every girl's dream? Fantasy? Do our teens have higher expectations for what a Sweet 16 Birthday Party should be? Has the media and especially the hit MTV show given them unrealistic expectations?

To keep this from being way too long, I'm breaking this up into a three post series.

  1. Part 1 - How to Plan a Super Sweet 16 Party
  2. Part 2 - Themes, Invitations, Venues, Music, Other Entertainment, Food, Beverages, Cake, Decorations, Other Necessities. 
  3. Part 3 - Do's and Don't's (Learn from our mistakes), How to host your own DIY Sweet 16 Party, Candle Celebration (or not) -- Other Rituals and Traditions, Shopping Ideas, Song Lists, and Links
Cake ... did I say cake? Yummy

And ... how to do it and still be able to save up for wedding in another 10 + years

My parents and I hosted my daughter's sweet 16 two years ago (hard to believe it's now time for her 18th b-day (but, the drinking age is 21, so nothing special about this one sweetie ... not after the Super Sweet 16 ... not if you ever want a wedding)

You can learn from all of my mistakes
Save money where I saved money
Learn from where I wish I would have saved money
Because I didn't have a blog post telling me how to do it.

Mistake #1:

We did not plan our party early enough.

Depending on where you live will determine how early you should begin planning. Venues book early and you don't want to get stuck with a bad choice or settle for a place that will not properly accommodate your type of event. We live in the south and everything ... I mean everything revolves around SEC football in the fall. So, we were competing against football games, travel, football parties, and other party planners ... not to mention, homecoming games and dances for all the major high schools.

My daughter Blake, well her name is Katherine Blake Carby, turned 16 and she had talked of little else, except her sweet 16, since she was nine or ten.

She envisioned this Fairy Princess meets Sixteen in The City -- Dance Club Party Theme

We used minimal decoration for the social media theme

Invitation had to match name on the guest list or the person was not admitted

Guest had to wear the lanyard

We managed to pull it off and it was quite an event, but I bet with better prep work, I would've cut the cost of this shindig in half and cut my stress level down below a category 5 hurricane alert. I was not fun to be around for the weeks leading up to that party. Nope! Ask Anyone ... anyone still talking to me.

It all worked out. 

As you can see in this photo
we've stopped arguing over the hoochie-mama dress I did not want my baby girl wearing. Okay, maybe a little unfair of me. It's not anything like a hoochie-mama dress, but is seemed light years too old for her and (Oh god, I can't even bare to say these next words in the same sentence with my little girl's name) a tad bit sexy ... provocative ... revealing. It's hard enough the first time you see your baby girl all dressed up and looking gorgeous, but when her midriff (her bare tummy is showing) it's heart wrenching and frightening.  But when even over-protective step-dad, and long time family friend, Dr. Jake Majors and my best friend, a fashion icon from Charleston, Caryn Smith, all gave the dress their thumbs up approval, mom realized ... I'd been vetoed ... outvoted. Everyone said the dress was perfect. 

"Thank you." I managed to spit out through my clenched jaw.

It still brought me to tears, watching my sweet, special, little girl strut into that party looking like a million dollars, looking all grown up like she'd have no problem getting into a dance club in Chicago or South Beach. I had a mini breakdown, but no one noticed and the party carried on.

I want to share with you what worked best, what didn't go over so well, what ended in disaster, what we could have improved on and what we could have cut out/completely ... eliminated from the party without one teenage guest even noticing.

Obviously the DJ with a fantastic lights and sound show was the hit of the party, but I will cover entertainment in the next segment.

There's much more to pulling off a successful sweet 16 party than you think

What's the first thing you need to do?

These Top Three-Tier Tasks Are absolutely required as soon as you know you're hosting a Sweet 16

You mess up on any of the Task from the Top Three Tier and your party will suffer


Top 3 Tier:

  • Decide early on whether or not you are going to spring for a professional event planner or if this will be a DIY Party (I will give you my pros & cons on both later in the post)

  • Decide on a budget and do not allow yourself to go over budget

  • Choose the date, time & venue for your party. Everyone from caterers, D.J., Bands, bakeries, security ... and the list goes on and on ... they all book early. Avoid getting shut out and shut down by the best musicians, best locations, and trying to pull it all together in one night by reserving locations and vendors early. I cannot stress this enough.

Sign out front of the club

Once You Figure out your Top Three Tier:

It's time to allocate your budget

This will vary with each individual family. Every 16 year old girl has her own vision of her special night. Something like an interactive photo booth may be the number one, "Daddy, I've gotta have it," on one girl's list while having the most amazing cake could be on another girl's list. I think we can all agree on this: Music is a must. Today's D.J.'s are about more than music. They are all about producing a spectacular lights and sound show. Having the right D.J., can make or break a Sweet 16. You want those kids out there dancing. At my daughter's party, the adults were going crazy and acting just as wild. The D.J. is a showman and the show he produces is worth the money. Do your homework. Vet the DJ. Get recommendations from others who've had similar parties. Make sure they play the music you want. I will cover this in Part 2 when I go into entertainment.

Mom's Tips, Suggestions & Ideas:

Mom & Dad: Make a list

Your soon to be sixteen year old can share in some of the responsibilities. 

 She can begin right now by making a list of what's most important to her. So, when you must show Tammy Teen that you've nearly reached your budget limit, she'll have prioritized and will be better equipped to let go of those really cute, adorable, individual shrimp cocktail dishes for a midnight snack. Heck, her friends will love her even more when the midnight snack is served and much to their delight they find mini bowls of mac-n-cheese and mini grilled cheese sandwiches poking out of (or beside) a miniature cup of tomato soup. Comfort food. We all love it. Make sure you include your teen in most of the planning and decisions. She's not a toddler and unless you're a magician and think you can pull off a surprise party for a sixteen year old without any of her friends spilling the beans (yea, like that's gonna happen) include her in many of the decisions.

It's her big night ... not yours.

Sure, you're footing the bill and that means you get the final veto power, but it's her magical night. So, let her share her dream night with you and see what you magic you can bring alive. You'll be surprised, with a little imagination and help from friends and family ... you can pull off some spectacular  attractions, decorations and more ... and at a fraction of the cost the professionals will charge you.

Get an Agenda

You need an agenda or planner book to stay on top on things. I like having a hard copy. Something I can touch, feel, smell, (kind of like how I feel about books). I need to actually hold my planner or agenda in my hand so I can whip it out to check dates, conflicts, confirmations, numbers, budget etc. You can use this in addition to the countless phone apps that are designed strictly for party planning. Don't get me wrong, they are fabulous and you can't go wrong with an app that's never further away that your phone or tablet ... which we all know is closer to us than our first love. 

At least the kids were dancing

Big Feather Centerpieces

Next: You Break Your Top Three Tier Task Down & Get Working

If you decide to use an event planner you will eliminate much of the work and headache. They are professionals. They are also costly. I will go on record and admit that we would not have pulled our event together without our wonderful event planner. She was over the top ... amazing. She coordinated everything so that the food, D.J. table tops, cake, beverages and decorations were all in sync and it was nice not to have to worry about every little detail. But, don't get lulled into a false sense of security. Don't be fooled. You must still do a lot of the work.

Professional event planners don't come cheap. In our case we had a lot of extra (I won't say hidden cost), but being handed a bill at the end of the night that makes you feel like you've been kicked in the gut, is not the best ending to a perfect night. In her defense, my mom was paying the bill, but my daughter and I were both answering the event planner's questions about whether we needed this or that, so we blame ourselves. We had too many people calling the shots. If you decide to use an event coordinator I highly recommend that your contract stipulates The Event Coordinator deal with only one person. This avoids confusion and added cost. I also recommend that you give an actual bottom line figure and stand firm. Emphatically state and demand that it be in writing that you do not/will not  agree to pay any amount over this fee. There are going to be some fees that can't be determined up front, but you still need a very detailed, specific contract. Fees that cannot be determine up front

  • Open bar (we had this upstairs for adults only)
  • Interactive Photo Booth
  • #Hashtag Your Personal Instagram and Twitter Pages -- if the fee is determined by the number of photos uploaded to the page

Or #CarbySweet16

If guest used #ClubCarby 

The Interactive Photo Booth was a big hit

Every Photo taken was displayed on Giant Screens

We kept adding extra goodies at the last minute and the bill reflected it. Oh did it.

My daughter's sweet 16 party was, of course, for teens. However, since she chose the Dance - Club - Party Theme and our venue was a two story building downtown, that used to be a private restaurant/supper club and we planned on inviting many of the parents, we split the levels. Downstairs for the teens and upstairs for the adults. We had food and an open bar upstairs (remember those extra costs I mentioned, well I can't blame them all on my teen). Also, at the last minute we recognized that my daughter's party was taking place on the night of, one of ...  if not the biggest SEC rivalry football games in the south. How the hell I missed that, I'll never know. Just overwhelmed with finding an open date for the venue of choice that coincided with an open date for the DJ of choice etc.
 I ... me ... Ms. Ole Miss Rebels married to Mr. LSU Tigers, who attends every single game, planned Blake's Sweet 16 on the night LSU played Ole Miss. This was 2014 and if you are familiar with SEC football you know that Ole Miss was a real contender that year for the SEC championship. They beat Bama that year and again in 2015.

Two hours before the party I'm on the phone with the event planner telling her we have to ... have the game on upstairs. No big deal, right. Wrong.

It was quite an expensive ordeal getting the cable lines running into the building and the big flat screen on each wall so the adults could watch the game. I knew that without the game, more than 75% of the adults would be a no show. That shouldn't have been a problem for my teen daughter, but it was. Now we had teens who intended to ride with their parents scrambling for rides to the party. But it all worked out. All except Ole Miss losing the game in the final seconds of the game. But, it was a close game and I'm glad the adults were every bit as entertained as the kids.

Glow in the dark Dance Floor

Signature Mocktail for the Teens

Major Choices you need to make for your Sweet 16 Party

Guest List
Sign in Board -- we opted for social media screen on a giant computer screen rather than a cardboard board or a sign in sheet. More on that later. It was one of our better ideas.
Music - D.J. or Band or an iPod with a sound system 
Lights and a Light show
Table and chair rentals
Table setups
Front door - Some to man the front door and check the invites against the guest list
Valet Parking
Other Entertainment
Song List
Will your sweet 16 party follow the traditions of changing clothes/shoes/
The elaborate Candle Lighting Ceremony - Yes, it is a tradition. Do you have to do it? No. I will give you the pros and cons of it later in this series. I highly recommend a mini version of this ceremony, if you go with the candle lighting ceremony (at all) and the whole Sweet 16 Court (her chosen and honored friends)
Half the cake ... the top toppled over

I'll share my thoughts on the candle ceremony in part 3

Our Theme was a Dance Club Theme:

We chose social media as the added theme and decorated the venue with all white, glow in the dark, black lights and neon. My daughter's invitations were adorable. They were lanyards that each guest had to present at the door or they did not get in and they had to have them on all night ... along with their wrist band that identified them as too young to go upstairs. Too young for the booze.

Online Places & Sites to check out:

Remember I said that out interactive photo booth was the biggest hit (besides the music of course) of our Sweet 16 party. She got the idea from a wedding magazine and apparently it's the huge craze for all parties and events. I've already put several photos on here from the booth, but the magical part of this is the #Hashstag, as we all know in this social media world we live in. If ya wanna be in ... if ya wanna trend ... you need your own #Hashtag.

So, any photos taken by the photographer, in the photo booth or by any guest with their own camera or phone (if they used the hashtag) were automatically uploaded to Blake's Sweet 16 Party Instagram and Twitter pages. This was all new to me, but my sixteen year old mentioned it to the party planner and she was right on it. Apparently it's all the gabble for any major event, but two years ago in my "small town-city," I'd never even heard of it.

You can start with the official site: EVENTSTAGRAM-EventsTag
The Social Wall Shows you how it all works and in my opinion it's better than those cardboard sign in boards that so many people use at the entrance to the Sweet 16 Party.

The site is officially called InstaTag now and they've come along way in just two years. Now you can even rent you own Portable Polaroid Printer

TagSnaps Offers Live Instagram Printers for Hire

Where can you get ideas for this amazing party?Sweet 16 Themes

We used a company called Tap Snap and I highly recommend you view their products and events.

It was a fabulous idea because at most Sweet Sixteen Parties there is a giant sign in board which is really just a blown up photo of the birthday girl. Guests sign the board and the birthday girl has a permanent memorabilia to keep forever. I never really cared for them. I know I don't sound like a conventional mom for this time honored traditional Sweet 16 party

But really, it's an oversized foam or cardboard photo of herself. What would she do with it in a year or two? We live in a social media world. Plus, it reminded me too much of those wedding receptions when the guests assemble for the:

Bonnie Bride ... This is your life. Puhleaze! My daughter was turning sixteen, not getting married, for Christ's sake.

I loved the social media #hashtag idea! Out with the cardboard photo of Blake. Guests signed an electronic book and their cute messages and witty comments popped up on the oversized Facebook and Twitter screens displayed on huge monitors all over the party. Next, they popped over to the photo booth and I must say with the exception of the DJ who rocked that party like it was 1999 (Oh wait that' my era) the photo booth was the biggest hit of the party. It's the one item, if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't do without. I would find ways to cut cost ... oh that's a given, but not here. Not the amazing, interactive photo booth. 
They generated personal #Hashtags for the party. All the cute comments, photos, selfies ... anything that was accompanied by the appropriate hashtags showed up on the professional looking Instagram and Twitter Party pages the company created.


Color Me Impressed!

My daughter was obsessed with My Super Sweet Sixteen - Television Show, only I didn't know it was a show to make mom's like me cry and wonder who really does this. I thought it was just the website that I found with all the cool themes & ideas. Nope, mom, wrong AGAIN! This show is over the top, outlandish and not at all what the average family can or will spend on a party for a teen. It's still useful for ideas you can tweak and incorporate into your own budget.

Pinterest has some fun ideas to browse through. Pinterest Sweet 16 If you're like me, you could spend a week or two alone checking out Super Sweet 16 Pinterest Boards

An online Instagram Web Browser of Party Planning Created by Treasured Moments.

Have you planned or attended a Super Sweet 16 Party?
Do you think the parties have gone overboard?
Do you have any ideas to share?
Stay Tuned for Parts 2 & 3 of My Super Sweet 16 Party Planning Tips
Check back on Tuesday for Part 2 for themes, invitations, venues, music, entertainment, food and much more.

Crime Critic - A Line of Blood by Ben McPherson

Crime Critic: A Review of A Line of Blood

Murder Mystery & Mayhem

Purchase your copy at Amazon

A Line of Blood
Ben McPherson

Verdict: 5 Stars

A gripping, disturbing, suspenseful, psychological thriller about a murder and how secrets and lies can destroy a family.  A Domestic Noir. One hell of a dysfunctional family. This story is also as much about a family in trouble and the secrets they keep from each other. Will each new revelation be the tipping point of destruction? Or can they ultimately find redemption for their sins.

I noticed a plethora of mixed reviews on Amazon. Many people loved this book and some people didn’t like it at all. The linking thread among those who disliked the book seemed to fall in one of two categories.

(1) The were shocked that the story wasn’t a mystery — read the back cover, blurb and synopsis. The author never claims to have written a “Who dun it?”
(2) Many readers didn’t like the characters. Well, let me be blunt. Neither did I. But, that doesn’t mean the author didn’t write a well plotted, perfectly paced book full of surprises, cliffhangers and twists. His characters were intentionally flawed and in my opinion it takes a talented writer to pull off such deeply flawed characters.

McPherson has given us well developed, believable characters who have major issues, but he doesn’t just drop them in our lap. Little by little we learn about each character’s past and their wound and we come to understand why they behave the way they do. We learn what occurred in both Millicent’s (mom, wife) and Alex’s (dad, husband, narrator’s) past that shaped them into the people they are as the story unfolds. I actually like flawed, unlikable characters. They have depth and complexity that is often lacking in many of the novels I read.

So, this is not a mystery. This is not a police procedural. Yes, the story opens with a murder. Alex, and his son, Max discover the neighbor’s dead body while searching for their cat. It’s ruled a suicide … until the police begin a more thorough investigation. The police don’t let on what evidence they’ve discovered or why they want to question, first, Max, then Alex, and finally Millicent and we’re left to speculate the many possibilities. I don’t want to give away the plot so I won’t go into the husband or wife’s motive, but others were equally motivated to kill the neighbor. He wasn’t who he appeared to be. This is a novel of suspense or a thriller, but the author does a damned good job of creating a mystery surrounding the murder of the neighbor — for a while. Honestly, I guessed the killer very early on, but that didn’t spoil the book for me, because his writing kept me on the edge of my seat as I discovered each new lie, secret and act of betrayal or revenge. 

I like the author’s writing style and voice. I agree that the characters, including little Max, are quite reprehensible — toxic even. Yes, at times I wanted to slap the little boy for his manipulative behavior and grab his parents and shake them out of denial. Whack — smack, wake the hell up. No one let’s their kid get away with the crap Max pulled. Alex, reminded me of a passive aggressive husband, who hadn’t quite gown up. He justifies his behavior and his son’s, regardless of the consequences. Clearly the author put a lot of time and effort into creating these complex, dark, characters. 

The story is told from Alex’s close, first person POV and his unreliability gives the story an edge and adds to the suspense.

The only part of the book I didn’t like or that I found a bit too far stretched or unbelievable was the Caroline subplot. I won’t go into it, except to say that it seemed forced. It felt like the author needed to create enough suspicion and a dark enough past for Alex to convince readers early on of his guilt. What’s the writer’s rule: Follow through on your promises to your readers? Well the author built this up and then when we finally learn about the Carolyn story, it just doesn’t fit with the storyline and in my opinion he failed to follow through on that promise to his readers. A lot of foreshadowing and foreboding and Splat — a  whole lotta nothing.

The author’s biggest gift is his ability to write fascinating, entertaining dialogue that moves the story foreword. I had to force myself to put this book down at night so I could sleep. I read it in two nights.

As a parent, I could see no other ending, so I had no problem with it. I won’t give it away. After you read it, feel free to come back and throw bricks at me or call child protection services or whatever you think is the more appropriate choice. A parent’s love will always prevail. Now, I am not saying that’s what I would do in all cases involving my own child, but in this one particular case, (hint hint) I see no other possible solution. You will have to read the book to let me know how you would have handled this horrific situation.

Do you like domestic noir? What’s your opinion on all the books that have followed in the footsteps of the very talented authors, Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins? Both of their books became overnight best sellers and then major motion films.  Can you get past unlikable, seriously flawed characters if the story and plot are compelling? Are you turned off by these scheming, jealous, raging narcissists?  Or do the raw emotions of these complex characters add depth and believability to their motivation. If you like this genre, can you recommend a favorite?

Learn more about this fabulous author and his debut thriller on his Facebook Page

10 Reasons To Vote for Donald Trump

Why I am voting for Donald Trump & You Should Too:

Former Title: I'm not so much voting for Donald Trump as I am voting against Hillary Clinton

But a funny thing happened between then & now. I started listening ... really listening to the candidates and studying the issues and in the last several months my views have drastically changed. I recognize real potential in Trump as our next president and the leader of the free world. Okay ... I pause here for you pitch rotten cantaloupes at me or leave the page.

But wait. Don't leave. Here me out.

  • Let's see, the democrats pretty much own California and New York and they aren't afraid to share their fervid hatred of Trump. So, I'm ostensibly sabotaging any hopes of my career getting a jump start by a major publisher in the near future -- so, no, that's not why I'm voting for Trump. 
  • I'm on a mission to lose the Twitter followers I've worked so hard to gain. Nope -- wrong again.  Not my reason
  • I want anti-Trump, pro-Hillary people bombarding me with cruel messages and calling me a racist, redneck, bigot and xenophobe. Nope. That's not it, either. And for people  ITRW, who actually know me, I'm the last person anyone would call me a racist, a xenophobe or homophobic or any other negative label. This post isn't about me defending my personal beliefs or opinions, but I'm not a racist. I'm certainly not homophobic. I have as many gay friends as straight friends and I have a gay sibling. I fought for gay marriage. I'm not a xenophobe, but I'm most certainly a "terrorist-a-phobe." I don't give a dead rat's ass where the terrorist originally came from, what his/her nationality is, what their religious beliefs are or anything about their culture ... all I care about is whether or not a person poses a significant risk to the safety of my country, and the safety of my family. 

I'm also getting tired of the race card being over played. I don't for one second dispute that racism still exist in the United States. It's more rampant now than it's been in my lifetime and it's right out in the open. What I find mod disturbing about racism today is how much it's heightened and intensified during Barack Obama's Presidency. Do not misinterpret what I said. I did not in any way blame the current state of racial tension on President Obama. I'm merely pointing out my observation. I had hoped and thought that after electing the first African American president, racial tension would have subsided. But we, as a whole, all of us have a lot of work to do to mend the rift and restore the balance. Racism used to be easy to define. It simply meant hating someone because of their race. 

Now racism is used more often for political reasons without any regard or proof as to whether something bigoted, prejudged, or slanted was said or done. This is not the fault of the the parties involved in the incidents giving rise to the political use of "racism." Liberals are quick to shout "Racism," anytime someone doesn't agree with them. Okay enough on racism. That's another post for another day.

Now onto the reasons I am voting for Trump. Why open myself to the ridicule, scorn and contempt associated with publicly supporting Donald Trump for President.

That's actually 2 Questions:

(1) Why am I voting for Trump?
(2) Why can't I just do so, shamefully, in secret, like so many people I know, instead of publicly supporting the man who is so viciously hated?

I'm a republican, from the south. I'm also a college educated woman. I'm not a redneck. Don't drive a pickup trick (no offense intended, many of my relatives drive trucks, and hunt and do all that southern stuff, I don't) I'm a southern belle. Saturdays mean all day SEC football. I like my tea sweet, my stuff monogrammed and my handgun where I can shoot the burglar if necessary. My go to shoes are cowboy boots. They can be worn with cocktail dresses, cutoff shorts ... hell even a wedding gown. Please and thank you are requirements and so are hand written thank you notes on monogrammed stationary. That's a must, y'all. 

This republican does not always vote the party line. I voted for Barack Obama (the first time he ran),  I voted for Bill Clinton, both times. In fact, as a prosecutor, my boss often screamed at me for being such a liberal ... a democrat ... a bleeding heart. I'm either a republican who sways so far left she almost falls down or I could be a democrat who leans so far to the right that most of the democrats wouldn't want me on their team either. I'm in the middle of  no man's land and we don't have a political party that represents all of my views.

I have a strong belief in the constitution, but I believe exceptions exist, such as exigent circumstances, that permit an interpretation of the constitution that has been developed through years of case law. These interpretations are based on facts and circumstances that our founding fathers could not have possibly foreseen based on the conditions and information available to them at the time of the creation of the constitution. I believe in the bill of rights, but again, with exceptions. 

Freedom of speech is not an absolute right and we are in a new world where the courts and the legislature are constantly trying to play catch up with technology. Free speech was easy ... once upon a time. With the advent of the Internet and cyber trolls hiding behind anonymity -- not so much. Free speech does not grant someone the right to defame another and slap the name "journalism" on it.

I believe in the right to bear arms. I whole heartedly believe in this right and I fear if Hillary Clinton is elected, this right will be thwarted until it is eventually eradicated. Making it more difficult to purchase guns is all fine and dandy, but guess who those laws will affect? Who they apply to? You and me and the average law abiding citizen. Only those who actually follow the law. 

Pay attention here: It's not a difficult concept.

Those of us already obeying the law are the very people who need ... and have the right to arm and protect ourselves against the thugs (no, thug is not a racist term) I once used it in a legal brief and the African American defendant made that argument on appeal and lost. Sidebar: I also used it during my closing argument in a capital murder trial when a young white boy killed a very reputable black man. I called the killer a "Thug." Of course, he took issue with the word and on appeal claimed it was prejudicial and inflammatory. The supreme court disagreed. You see, a criminal is a thug. White, black, pink or polka dot. A thug is a thug.

As I was saying, we law respecting folks have the right to buy a gun and protect ourselves against the thugs who are breaking into our homes intent on causing our family harm. The difference is -- in about 89% of the cases,  the thug-criminal, who means to harm us, is armed with a gun, he obtained ... unlawfully. So, if we make it harder to legally buy guns, we only hurt the law abiding citizen. The thugs don't waltz into the local sporting good store and say:

"Hello, sir. I'm here to buy a new handgun. Oh you need to see my current and valid picture ID." He scratches his head "Hmmm. Whoa ... what do you mean you have to run a background check on me. What's that mean? So, you're saying if I've done time or I've I got me a felony conviction, I can't get no gun, huh? Does that dime I did down in Angola count? Well shit. How long's all this gonna take cuz my posse's waiting on me. Three days! Shut the fuck up. Forget this. I'll head down to shorty's where I can rent me a piece for a sawbuck. Let me grab some of that ammo while I'm here. Say what? You need ID for ammo. Screw this. Let's roll."

The dude above, the thug, criminal, he ain't about to pay full price for a weapon at a retail store and fill out a bunch of paper work, even if he could meet the requirements. 

Criminals get their guns off the streets from other criminals!

Which is why we need to allocate more money for local, state and federal law enforcement and we need a president who stands behind law enforcement officers and is willing to have their backs. Because law enforcement officers are the only ones who can successfully get the illegal weapons off the damned streets. Stricter gun laws won't do it.

My Main Issues of Concern with the Country and What I'm Looking for in a President.                     

1. Foreign Policy --  Safety for our country, Safety for my family, Defeating terrorism, defeating ISIS, Securing our borders. We live in a dangerous time. Obama has done nothing to help our safety. We are leading from behind. We are no longer the powerful nation that all other counties looked up to. Our allies no longer respect us or trust us and our enemies no longer fear us. America can become the leader it once was, but we must set the standards for other countries to follow. For the past eight years we have failed. We don't keep our word or follow through on our threats. We have not enforced the red line in Syria. And probably the worst foreign policy decision ever made, we've legitimized Iran's nuclear weapons program. We've paid ransom money, setting a terrible precedent and our president lies to the American people

2. Health care -- Repealing The Affordable Care Act. The outrageous cost of health care is making many of us health care poor. Obama Care failed. More and more large health care corporations are pulling out. The cost of health care is expected to increase between 18 and 40% in 2017. Obama Care was a bust. Health insurance companies are a business and businesses must turn a profit. When companies are forced to insure elderly people and previously uninsurable people or those with pre-existing conditions, they are going to recoup those losses somewhere and guess who is making up for it -- you and me. Those of us who've been insured. I'm sure it helped some, but not many and it also forced many small businesses into bankruptcy. And if Obama thought it was such a fabulous deal, why then was it necessary to make an exception, exempting congress from the restrictions of Obama Care. 

3. Economy -- I don't know how many of you are doing better off financially than you were eight years ago. I know that our economy is in bad shape and we need a president with business and negotiation skills. Someone who recognizes bad trading agreements, someone willing to negotiate new deals from a position of power. Donald Trump won't be indebted to any special interest groups or lobbyists and he won't be owned or controlled by anyone. Hillary Clinton, on the otter hand is a puppet for special interest groups. Trump cannot be bought. The liberals are all about big government  and we already have too many government regulations. We can't afford anymore or we don't stand a chance of getting any of our major businesses to return to this country. We need less regulations for small businesses to open. Too many regulations infringes on liberty. Big government favors special interest groups and large corporations. The little man, the hard working middle class person, and small companies get lost in the process.  We have to stop government bailouts. We have to stop the FCC from making up regulations as they see fit with no recourse. As a republican, I'm hurt by this because this plan wants to tip the scale against trial attorneys, but if that's what it takes to jump start America ... I'm all in.

4. Education -- Trump is for improving the educational system. He cares about education.  Clinton can't even talk about it because The American Federation of Teachers and The National Education Association, the two largest teacher's union have donated millions to her campaign. 

5. Transparency and getting rid of Government Corruption

6. Get rid of overreaching government. Take Control away from the unelected bureaucrats and return it to the elected people to represent the people who elected them.

that's what's needed for Obama to get his TPP "Trade Treaty" with Pacific countries passed into law during the lame duck session of congress. She has always been part of it. Just like she's always been part of NAFTA. Her words seldom match her actions

8. Trump might not be the most eloquent or politically correct speaker. Sure, he says some crappy thing and rants and raves and acts like a baby. I've heard many of you refer to him as a sociopath. That word gets tossed around today like yesterday's "Awesome." We latch onto new words like "Narrative" "Narcissist" "Sociopath" and the next thing you know you can't watch the news or read an article without the new words jumping off the page or out of the announcer's mouths.

People need to recognize the definition of a sociopath before labeling everyone who they disagree with or who doesn't like them from the man who lets his dog take a dump on your front lawn to the rude clerk at Circle K, to your kid's Sunday school teacher. Trump is most certainly not a sociopath. A narcissist ... most likely, but that's not necessarily or always a bad thing. There's a huge difference between a narcissist and having narcissistic personality disorder. In fact, most highly successful people have some narcissistic traits. You don't rise to the level of success in business and accomplish what Trump has if you lack self esteem. There is such a thing as healthy self esteem ... healthy narcissism. People like Bill Gates have it, but not to the point that it disrupts their day. People are drawn to natural leaders. Successful leaders, however are often more demanding. People with healthy narcissism usually have happy, healthy normal family lives and enjoy engaging in family activities. They contribute to their family, the community and are liked and/or disliked by others the same as any other person. On the other end of the spectrum you have people with desperately low self esteem and their sense of low self worth turns into a need for constant reassurance.

People with NPD are scared of being found out, always looking over their shoulder. Their life is a lie. The seek admiration, but the void is never filled. They are never wrong. They normally cannot maintain long term relationships because people figure them out. They aren't nearly as competent as they purport to be. They are manipulative, demanding and lack empathy.

A sociopath

This this isn't a post on mental illness. I'll be brief. The point I want to make is that a sociopath lacks empathy. He can't feel love, remorse, guilt or shame. They believe their own lies. Donald Trump feels true love for his family. It's evident. A sociopath could not have raised a family of well mannered, well adjusted, socially skilled,  kids who are so obviously devoted to him, love him and who have demonstrated repeatedly that they possess character, integrity and live by the standards of a moral compass one could only learn growing up in a home filled with love, discipline and respect.

As I was saying, Trump is not a politician. He speaks without a filter. That may piss off a lot of people. At times, it's rather refreshing to hear a candidate's authentic voice. With Hillary, we don't get her true or honest opinion. We get what her speech writers and PR specialist have written for her to sell to to the public. Before she utters a single sentence, it is written, reworded, revised, analyzed, over analyzed, then her team tries it out on a mock group. The they poll it to see if she will get a favorable response or not. The it's back to the revision room for another rewrite. Then Hillary practices her delivery in front of her full length mirror. There's nothing true, personal or authentic about her words. And those are her scripted words. Her scripted and unscripted words consist of truths, half truth, legal dances around the truth and outright lies.

8. Donald Trump may be inexperienced, but I'll take that any day over Hillary's Experience and her proven track record. 
Sure, we are taking a risk with the unknown, but it's a hell of a lot better than what we know Hillary is capable of and what her experience has proven. 

I'm outraged by what this election has done to our country and to people I know. We live in the greatest country in the world. Countless mean and women have fought and lost their lives to afford us the freedoms we take for granted. We have the right to support whomever we please. I realize that politics and religion are touchy subjects for some, but I've studied politics for most of my life and I've always enjoyed election years. They offer us a chance to share our opinion and if we truly listen to others, the rare chance to learn something we may not have known. 

I'm shocked by the number of blog posts I've read about people who've lost real friends over this election. The worst part is the reasoning behind Clinton supporters who've de-friended online and real time friends simply for supporting Donald Trump. One blogger, I can't remember who, stated, that he felt compelled to rid himself of all friends who supported Trump, as a matter of integrity. For him, it was a moral decision. He could not rationalize remaining friends with someone who was a racist, a homophobic, a misogynist, xenophobe, bully, sociopath etc. 

I suppose he only follows the mainstream media and they don't do a very accurate job of reporting everything that Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, for that matter, do or say. The mainstream media is clearly biased and they take everything Trump says and report snippets of his speech or conversation (way out of context) then the world grabs hold, spins it and it evolves into something it wasn't. 

How do I know? I've witnessed it first hand. For example. Trump never asked Russia to hack into Clinton's email. He was giving a speech about the DNC being hacked and he clearly stated that he didn't have a clue who the hacker was. He said that it could be Russia, or China, or some other country ... then he shrugged his shoulders, made a face, indicating confusion or lack of knowledge and said something like, "Heck it could be some teen sitting on his bed in his parent's basement doing all this hacking." Then he said " Maybe, you can get Hillary's deleted emails." It was so obviously a joke and he never directed the joke to Russia. If Hillary made the same statement, the media wouldn't have picked it up. It's disturbing that the media chose to make Trump's joke the cover story for the next 96 hours instead of the real story ... the DNC emails getting hacked which provided the people of the United States the concrete proof many had suspected all along -- the system is rigged. 

It also chaps my ass when people get all fired up and end friendships over an election, but when you ask them why they are voting for Clinton they can't even tell you what she stands for. I respect every person's right to vote for whomever they choose, but don't preach from the pulpit if you don't even know where your candidate stands on important issues like Oil and Gas, a women's right to choose (yea that's an easy one and everyone should know where the candidate stands), the 2nd amendment, NAFTA or if you can't tell me why every one's so fired up about Benghazi or the email scandal.

I've seen zero, absolute zero proof that Trump is any of those horrible words above. But even if he was a racist and he's not, don't impugn that on to me. If you're voting for Clinton, I don't tax you with her negative character traits. You are not corrupt by default just because you choose to vote for Clinton.

We live in the country with most freedom. We should feel free to speak our mind about politics without being branded or without name calling or bashing. We should respect each other's choice and it shouldn't have any impact on our friendships. We live in a democracy. 
But, the backlash is why so many Trump supporters are silent supporters. I have a feeling those silent supporters will be out in massive numbers on election day and the polls that are tightening each day are not truly indicative of how many people really support Trump.

It comes down to two basic questions.

  1. Are you happy with the way things are now, the status quo? The number of people on food stamps? The fear of terrorist attacks we live with on a daily basis? If you are and you want more of the same ... vote for Clinton
  1. Are you tired of the Washington establishment? Tired of being lied to? Do you want change, more economic growth? A more transparent government that is held accountable? Do you want to stop government overreaching and return the power to the people? Then vote for Trump

Why is this so important? "We won't be able to fix our most intricate problems unless we have a government that is open and accountable to the people it serves." ~ Paul Ryan - Speaker of the House

 Find out by reading and listening to Paul Ryan's Video's A Better Way

Like I said, I'm a republican, but I believe in a woman's right to choose. That doesn't mean I would ever chose to terminate a pregnancy. My views on that personally changed when I gave birth to my triplet daughters at 25 weeks gestation. I have very deep personal feelings about the issue now, but I would never impose my personal beliefs on someone else. And I firmly believe that if the individual states make abortion illegal, people will still find a way to get an abortion, but we will return to back alley abortions thus jeopardizing women's health. I hate to see a woman use abortion as a form of birth control, but it's her body ... her life ...not mine.  I have conflicting views with my own party. I also believe strongly in favor of same sex marriage, but the political consensus is that regardless of the political affiliation of the next Supreme Court Justice appointment, Obergefell v Hodges will stand as the law of the land. With 7/10 polled republicans supporting same sex marriages, this issue is not likely to be disturbed. If Ted Cruz had won the nomination, we might be fighting a different battle.

Who are you voting for? 
Are you voting for the lesser of two evils?

I hope we are still friends.

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