Voting: Why It Matters

As I take in what is going on in this wonderful nation of ours I am inspired and horrified in equal measure. Like so many others I believed my single, solitary, measly little vote did not matter.

Let me clarify.

We recently moved to a very “red” state. I had previously lived in another red state and believed that my sole “blue” vote counted very little in the grand scheme of things. Having moved, I was in no hurry to update my driver’s license and because of my slacker-laissez-faire attitude I was unable to get my voter registration sorted out in time for the 2016 presidential election. I was not overly concerned. My husband (who is much more diligent in these matters) had his voter registration (as well as his new driver’s license) well taken care of months ago. He would be casting his (read: our) vote on November 8th, and I would take comfort that his ballot would be mine, too. I’m pretty sure I heard that in our marriage vows somewhere fifteen years ago ago (every Suffragist who ever lived is rolling in her grave right now, I know).

And like so many others I believed in the herd-immunity theory of elections. The “herd protection” would be strong enough to overcome my lazy, un-American, elitist, lethargic, liberal recklessness and another Democrat would win the presidential race.  After all, no one seriously thought such a wild card outsider and general rabble-rouser would actually win the highest elected position in the free world.

Well, as my mother would say: “See where your laziness gets you?”

She, I imagine like many other mothers, is always right.

What did my laziness get me?

Well, first it got me shell-shocked. Then it got me scared. This was quickly followed by denial, heartbreak, and ended with very ugly crying and more fear. This was all by the end of business Wednesday, November 9th. There is no telling what else my and other people’s laziness will get us over the next four years.

What the hell did I expect?

Voting counts. Elections count. My voice…every single voice counts.

I in way excuse my behavior. As a matter of fact I am super pissed off at myself. No one can say anything to me that I haven’t already said to myself. How can I even dare to call myself a feminist? An American? A believer in the Constitution and Democracy? I know better.

We all do.

I also know that most people aren’t lazy – we are all different individuals and use our wonderful rights to support our strongest held beliefs. Some of us vote all the time, some of us never vote, some of us vote in half-measures. I do not judge anyone else for how they choose to live their lives in this great of country of ours. And that’s what makes America great already. We have all these wonderful freedoms, these rights protected by the highest courts and the highest elected and non-elected officials. We can say what we want, do what makes us happy (so long as it doesn’t break any laws), and generally have a kick-ass life if we put in the work and effort to make it happen.

So why did I write this? Well, I was cooking dinner for my family and I started thinking about all of these things. I started thinking that it is my duty as an American and as a mother to lead by example. I failed in both regards on Election Day.

I never will again.

And it is my sincerest wish others learn from my mistake.

I plan on donating my time, money, and effort in every way possible over these next four years supporting the causes and agencies I believe in. I will never again forget or shirk my duties as an American. The stakes are too high. Elections are important because they not only strike the path our country is going to take in the present, but also mold the future we leave for our children, our grandchildren, and even our great-grandchildren. I wish I had thought of these things in the months prior to the Election. Hell, I wish I had thought of these things the morning of, but like the saying goes: “What’s done is done and can’t be undone.”

What matters now is what we do going forward. I will take my little blue flag and plant it in the vast red sea I live in and make an island. Hopefully, in four years, I will be able to celebrate the fact that my little island stood strong in the face of whatever storms may have come to pass.

And hopefully our strong, amazing, infuriating, maddening, incredible melting-pot of a nation will be standing right along with it.

#CountMeInFor2020.

Categories: America, Current Events, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Outsiders and Mockingbirds

The OutsidersTo Kill a Mockingbird

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton will always be my favorite book ever written because to this day my heart breaks for all those boys — fictional characters that brought me to tears when I was twelve and read it for the first time (I STILL cry even now in my 30’s) — simple, poignant characters fighting to belong in a world where things are so unfairly divided.

In that vein, I think there shall never be a BETTER book than To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The Outsiders is my favorite of all time but in my (humble) opinion, the best book ever written is To Kill a Mockingbird.

There are no two books I hold in higher regard — books that have changed the way children and perhaps some adults think about the world they live in and the people that inhabit it. These books are not perfect, they’re not politically correct, and they have angered plenty of people over the decades, but the one thing these two books have done to thousands, perhaps even millions of readers is to make them think about the world in which they live — to think about the people on the fringes of society (in one case it is an economic/social divide, in the other it is a racial one) and the courage it takes to live there.

I read a LOT of crap over the course of a year, but when I need to reset, I read these two works and remember why I love words and the people who weave them together.

People die every day, but some words, some works, live forever.

“They grew up on the outside of society. They weren’t looking for a fight. They were looking to belong.”
―     S.E. HintonThe Outsiders    

“Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.”
―     Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird    

Categories: books, Classics, Fiction, Memories, Teen Fiction, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Supernatural Tuesday

Supernatural Tuesday

There are some days when I have so much to do I wonder how I’ll ever get it all done. My calendar becomes a highlight color wheel of must-do’s, appointments, errands, and the like. I stress about getting every little thing done before heading into work — I have to cook, clean, go to the store, pick up kids from school, all while trying to carve out time to write somewhere in between everything. I turn on the TV to listen to some background noise as I fold laundry while cooking and getting a jump on my day when something totally ridiculous and stupidly unfair happens — I hear the dulcet tones of Dean Winchester yelling at someone (or something) on my television screen. It is at this precise moment in time I realize my day is officially shot. I sigh as I go sit on my sofa, drink my coffee and proceed to engage in a three hour long marathon of one of my favorite shows of all time. The chicken burns, my work clothes will be horribly wrinkled, and those dishes will stay in the sink until the next morning but I could care less. Nothing else matters as I succumb to the inevitable pull of the Winchesters as they go around kicking ass, taking names and crying at some point.

Well played Supernatural…well played.

 

Jensen Ackles

Categories: Supernatural, Television, Tuesday, Uncategorized, Winchesters | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday

My sister reworked this old picture from the VERY early 80’s (possibly even late 70’s) our brother took from our old fire escape on Delancey St in New York City. I know it’s not as clear and perfect as the photos a person can take nowadays with the cheapest camera phone but I still love it. I love all the old cars coming off the bridge, the old stores that no longer exist, and the view of the Williamsburg that is such a part of the New York landscape today as it was back then. We spent so much time on that fire escape, I wonder how we didn’t fall down and die. If anyone saw a kid just hanging out on one today, the cops would be there ordering him or her to get their butt down faster than you can say “Stop & Frisk!” Ahhh…some things change but it’s always fun to get it on film!

Here’s to Throwback Thursday!

Stay inspired!

Categories: inspiration, New York City, Throwback Thursday, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Do Parents Have Favorites?

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As I sit at my computer and try to concentrate on writing my latest chapter, my four year old will inevitably come over and ask me for juice a dozen times times, food a hundred times, and to change the channel on the TV about a 1,000 times. When I finally get him all set, my three year old will walk by my desk and push a broken toy at me to fix, shoes to put on his feet (whether he is wearing pants or not), or scream at me to get off my butt and take him outside. At this point my twelve year old will cruise by, tell me good morning before heading downstairs to play video games far away from where I’m trying to work before the party is officially over and he goes back to school.

Do parents have favorites?

This one sure does.

Many parents will deny this fact all day long: “Oh no! I love all my kids equally,” “I could never choose – they’re all so terrific!” Blah. Blah. Blah. Whatever. For appearances sake let’s just say 3% of parents actually do love their kids equally at any given moment. That still leaves 97% of the population playing Who’s Mom’s (or Dad’s) Favorite? I am definitely a card-carrying member of this group and won’t even waste my breath trying to deny it.

My own mother had eight kids, and she most certainly had favorites. Of course she is the founding member of Parents Against Idiotic Notions (or P.A.I.N. for short), but once upon a time she’d been a naïve an idealistic new mother too. That was until the day she realized her children were slowly but surely trying to put her in an early grave.

My mother likes to tell all of us she never played favorites. Sure, lady. Tell yourself you didn’t like one kid over another if that’s what makes you feel better now that you’re 74 and want to live out your life in your comfortable home and not in some second-rate retirement village. We all knew the truth then and we know it now. You had favorites (still do!), and the rest of us wished him or her dead at one point or another (a completely natural reaction among siblings in our household, rest assured).

Favoritism is elastic. It is not a permanent state of being. It changes from kid to kid, moment to moment. A three year old who’s just used a Sharpie to mark up your brand new, stupidly expensive purse cannot be your favorite kid — not in the same way as the one who helped you bring in the groceries from the car which left your purse alone and open to assault in the first place.

There is no shame in my game…shame being something stripped away by toddlers who have no qualms about standing in my bathroom watching me shower or will spill an entire cup of grape juice on my poor laptop until the guy at Best Buy looks at me with a pathetic shake of his head and tells me I should’ve bought the extra warranty. Um…are you deficient Mr. Best Buy Geek Guy? Have you seen how many kids I have? I can’t afford that!

This could be my house on any given Saturday

This could be my house on any given Saturday

When I hug my oldest son goodnight I tell him: “I love you. You know you’re my favorite, right?” He nods like the all-knowing teenager he is quickly becoming. Then I say: “But don’t tell your brothers because it’ll make them feel bad.” He laughs and tells me he won’t say a word. Good man.

Then it’s off to the next room (which happens to be MY bedroom for some horribly karmic reason), where I kiss my four year old goodnight as he lounges in my spot with my favorite pillows stacked behind his head. I lean over him and say: “I love you Mr. Mayor (because he can often be found shaking hands and kissing babies around town). You’re my favorite boy in the whole, wide world, but don’t tell your brothers because it’ll make them sad.” He grins at me and gives me a chubby bear hug and tells me he loves me too.

Finally I move onto my youngest and place him in his brand new toddler bed, giving him a goodnight kiss and telling him he’s my favorite but it’s our little secret and he can’t say anything to the others because they’ll be heartbroken. He grins happily at me, cookie crumbs dribbling out of the side of his mouth since he’s managed to snake one out of the jar without me seeing.

So yeah, I tell my kids they’re each my favorite. So sue me. My twelve year old is my favorite when he offers to play with his little brothers downstairs so I can write in peace for twenty minutes. My four year old is my favorite when he actually uses the potty and gets everything inside the bowl on the first try. My youngest is my favorite when he takes his medicine without throwing it back up and all over my clean shirt.

Yes, I have favorites. And most days they vary from kid to kid. Some days one kid can’t seem to keep his butt out of time out, while another makes me wonder how far I could get with just the change in my purse if I decided to make a break for it.

Then on some days a miracle really does happen and they’re all perfect. For one glorious moment in time they all share the title of ‘Most Favorite,’ and I realize I am part of that 3% of parents who love their kids equally! It is on those days I feel like maybe I’m not doing such a bad job after all, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll stick it out a little while longer – or at least until my husband comes home from work and I can slip out the back door like a ninja in flip-flops and khaki shorts.

Knowing how most people love to hang out in Denial Alley, I am sure someone will send me a scathing message about the detriments of such practices on the young developing psyche of my unfortunate offspring or how playing favorites can have a long-term negative impact well into their adult lives, keeping the vicious cycle going on for eternity.

To those people I say: Go scratch. I have three never-ending stomachs to fill, a laundry pile that hits the ceiling weekly, and three college funds I’m trying to scrimp together so my boys can have a better job than I have when they finally grow up. And by the way, have you even seen the news lately? Things could be a lot worse for my boys than having to be the non-favorite once and awhile.

Besides, I’m not always their favorite parent either but you don’t hear me complaining. Heck, I don’t really care so long as they whisper in my ear that I’m totally their #1 before making me promise not to tell dad. To this of course I willingly agree because we can’t go around hurting other people’s feelings.

What kind of parent would I be then?

Categories: Children, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

Dona Marta’s Inchiladas

My sister’s ridiculously funny work about a 30-year old trying to juggle her 70-year old loan shark mom, her posse of leg-breaking biddies, a parade of jaw-dropping blind dates, all while trying to find a decent guy in a city of 8 million people and keeping her mother from making her ‘Inchiladas of Doom.’ Her writing will definitely make you laugh out loud!

This is a work in progress (so not yet completed), but can be read for free on Wattpad.com!

waldinaoliveraphoto

Dona Marta's Inchiladas

A cover that I shot for a short story I’m working on for Wattpad. My sister, Wendy Nelson, has inspired me in so many ways and to be honest–its a bit of a humorous look at things.

What happens when you’re in your mid-thirties, single and your mom is one of the biggest, small-time crime bosses on the Lower East Side? Did I mention she’s a senior citizen with her own posse of dangerous old ladies that’ll crochet you a duvet and maybe break your fingers if you can’t pay the Vig on your loan? I invite you to read a little and you might just might get a good laugh 😉

Please note, its uploaded in installments and is NOT yet a completed work (July 31st, 2013)

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Categories: Book Preview, Fiction, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Bad Company by Wendy Nelson

The latest review of Bad Company, my Teen Paranormal Fiction work, currently featured for free on Wattpad.com! Bad Company is the first in a 7-part series that tackles each of the Seven Deadly Sins. The first book in the series revolves around the sin of “Lust,” while introducing us to Eliza, a 17-year old girl from New York City sent to live in a small Midwestern town where each of the sins are bought and sold for the price of an immortal soul. At the moment, I am working on the sequel, Bad Influence – Book of Wrath, which is scheduled for completion by the end of August 2013. Bad Company is available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble but you can read it for free on Wattpad where it is currently a featured title.

Brinnande Skrift

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**SPOILERS**

Summary:  The paranormal horror Bad Company follows tenacious teen Eliza Taylor’s excommunication to her withered but secretive great, great (great, great?) aunt Celeste’s shop in Blackwater Missouri. Ordinary girl Eliza doesn’t just learn her lesson, she discovers a world of untapped sin and demonic contracture hidden behind the storefront facade.

Co-worker and roomie Dante is hot in all senses of the word, and Eliza finds him harder to befriend than cute guy Chase, who charms his way into her heart. Unfortunately for Chase, the Seven Deadly Sins are rife and free at the behest of demon Asher, and poor Chase swallows a heart-full of Lust.

Given that Eliza has trapped her violent and powerful aunt into the Monet painting(you really have to read it), it’s now Eliza’s duty to sort the sins from the souls. First on the list being Chase whom finds himself raging through women in…

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Categories: Book Review, Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Supernatural, Teen Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Through a Brooklyn Fence

Through a fence in Brooklyn, NY.

Through a fence in Brooklyn, NY.

My sister took this photo in Brooklyn, New York and sent it to me last week since it made her think of me. Her capture fills me with inspiration, awe and just a touch of sadness. Though I am far away from some of the most important people in my life, it’s these moments that make me feel like I am right there with them, or wish that I was.

Growing up in Brooklyn in the late 80’s and early 90’s was quite the experience. Thankfully I had a twin sister to help share in the craziness of a childhood surrounded by brownstones, Mets baseball, and a burgeoning Hip Hop scene. We moved to the borough when we were eight from the Lower East Side (Delancey Street) and it was like a whole other world. It seemed like every kid on our block already knew each other and it was difficult learning the ropes of life in a borough of the city. We’d only ever known Manhattan but at least we were in it together.

Now I have a twelve year old son who loves to watch repeats of Everybody Hates Chris on TeenNick. Bedstuy (Chris Rock’s old neighborhood) was similar to Bushwick (my old neighborhood) in a lot of ways — many of the jokes and running gags about the people Chris Rock grew up around makes me smile because I can totally relate. My son asks me if my childhood was anything like Chris Rock’s and I have to laugh at that. My mother was old country – super Spanish as they come. I tell my son what my mother used to always say: “America stopped at the front door.” Once you crossed over into my mom’s house, you were officially in her country. I guess in some ways it was a lot like Chris Rock’s childhood (anyone who’s seen Rochelle on the show knows what I mean!).

Rochelle (Chris' mother) on Everybody Hates Chris

Rochelle (Chris’ mother) on Everybody Hates Chris

Either way, this picture reminds me of a childhood spent reading on the stoop, playing in fire hydrants, eating icies, and going to watch movies in a theater that no longer exists today (though I have never had a better hot dog since). I miss my sister but these memories we share still inspire. I may be far from my hometown but Brooklyn (like sisters) stays in your heart forever.

Categories: Brooklyn, Childhood, Everybody Hates Chris, inspiration, Memories, New York City, Sisters | 3 Comments

Sunset in New York

Sunset

This is a photo my sister took of a sunset in New York City. Her capture fills me with such inspiration and nostalgia, all I want to do is jump on my keyboard and write! It’s as if I can’t seem to get these thoughts out of head and onto my word document fast enough. I live in a Midwestern city now, but most days it doesn’t inspire me the way my old hometown does.

My view is more open spaces and less concrete now, but every time I look at this, I remember what it’s like to be home. There is an energy in New York that cannot be found anywhere else on the planet. I am sure sunsets are breathtaking in New Mexico, California, Paris, and Australia (just to name a few places), but New York has a sunset all its own.

As the sun dips below tons of glass and concrete and the lights the city is known for beckon tourists and natives alike, the New York of my childhood comes to life – in my memory and in my imagination.

Nothing inspires me more.

Categories: inspiration, New York City | Leave a comment

Wendy Nelson: Reader, Writer and Bookseller at Large

A bookseller's natural habitat!

A bookseller’s natural habitat!

Hello and welcome to my first blog site! I’ve never done this before in my life so go easy on me.

So what do I say about myself?

I’m a born and bred New Yorker that devours all types of fiction: Romance, Paranormal, YA, Fantasy, Adventure, Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi, and more. I love it all! I buy too many books and drink way too much coffee (both hazards of working at a bookstore) and I find myself totally enthralled with meeting and talking to other book lovers in this world of ours. Literature unites people in ways most other things can’t — everything from gossiping over the latest J.R. Ward romance and which Black Dagger Brother you’d most likely fall for (mine’s Rhage!) to arguing over whether or not Anne Coulter might really be the Antichrist (this was a customer’s opinion several years ago). You’ll never know what kind of conversation you might get into with people who read.

It’s pretty amazing what the written word can do. It can start a revolution (I’m talking about you Mr. Thomas Paine and your Common Sense!), change the course of history (hello Harriet Beecher Stowe and Uncle Tom’s Cabin!), or help you find love (my sister found a hot guy once while reading Tolkien’s Silmarillion on a New York City subway – though that might not be the best example considering that relationship crashed and burned). Still, I am continually amazed at the power words have on our society, culture, and civilization.

That being said, I am nowhere near as amazing as the authors above. I don’t have to be — that’s the magic of writing. It doesn’t have to be Vonnegut or Faulkner to be enjoyable (though a good editor never hurt anybody). For myself, I tend to blend many different elements into my writing: dark fantasy, humor, romance, mystery, and even a bit of horror. Some things are too good to choose from so I just throw it all in and save myself the headache of having to make such tough decisions. I consider myself to be a nerd and a romantic at heart (a NERDANTIC!), who obviously has no problem making up my own words whenever the situation calls for it.

Bad Company is my first Young Adult Paranormal Fiction. The story revolves around my fascination with the 7 Deadly Sins as it plays out through the trials of a 17 year old girl named Eliza. She’s a big city girl who’s been shipped off to a small, backwater town and finds herself smackdab in the middle of a showdown between her evil aunt and the demon master she serves. I think there is something almost visceral about the various sins human beings commit, but what if they were something we knowingly bought? Could you resist even if it meant getting what you most desired in the world? Would you care if the price was your immortal soul? Those are the questions Eliza has to deal with as she tries to save herself (and a few others) from eternal damnation. It’s not easy being a teenager – especially not in a small town with cute boys and evil secrets running amuck!

I am also writing two different Adult Romance/Fantasy series entitled: God of My Dreams and my Desmond Files series. Both series feature hot immortals, smart women, and tons of trouble both get into on a regular basis. All my books are available to read for free on Wattpad — though I have recently started to publish my Young Adult fiction on sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble (which is a little crazy for me but I’m determined to get it right!).

I try to live by the best piece of advice I ever heard (from my mother no less): “If you wanted things to be about life and death, you should’ve become a doctor. Since you didn’t, no one’s going to die.”

That’s all I’ve got. I live to read, I love to write, and I’m a pretty great bookseller. Maybe one day this perfect storm of literary based talents will transform me into a New York Times Bestselling author. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see…fingers crossed!

Hey, we all gotta dream, right?

Book 1 of the Seven Deadly Sins Saga - Book of Lust

Book 1 of the Seven Deadly Sins Saga – Book of Lust

Amazon link for Bad Company:
http://www.amazon.com/Company-Seven-Deadly-Sins-ebook/dp/B00BTIDPX6/ref=sr_1_5?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1375297787&sr=1-5&keywords=bad+company

B&N (Nook) link for Bad Company:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bad-company-wendy-nelson/1115233082?ean=2940016583495

Categories: books, Bookseller, Fiction, Writer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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