Archive for September 2016

When Women Are Sexists   Leave a comment

This is apparently my week for feeling irritated at entitled twits who cross my path. I’m not sure if it’s something going on with me or the world in general, but there you have it.

Brad and I enjoy watching PBS on Friday nights because it has a lot of news, often from overseas, and it’s fun to mock the Democratic news. No, seriously. PBS might as well be Soviet-era Pravda. But we haven’t got cable and I want my news fix, so we watch it and mock them. It’s a good opportunity to research their claims and find out that they’re propagandists.

Image result for image of woman chopping woodMy least favorite show in this lineup is “To the Contrary”. It probably has something to do with Bonnie Erbe’s whiny voice or the fact that she apparently doesn’t know the definition of “diverse perspectives”, but I have trouble sitting through the program. If you’re unfamiliar, the premise of the show is that a college-aged, employed woman with a brain and a blog like myself should be using my access to the marketplace of ideas to post angry tirades against the always-oppressive male and demanding my rights as a woman. Equality to these women (some of whom are regulars and others who are “conservatives” to qualify for the “diverse perspectives” title, I guess), each week make it clear that “equal rights” for them means at the expense of men’s rights. If I don’t espouse these opinions, I am a sexist.

Similar to how I feel that minorities can be as racist as white people and ought to be called on it, I also believe that women can be as sexist as men. I just view sexism in a different way than Bonnie and her fem-bots.

Image result for image of woman changing tireI’m going to start out by making a really sexist statement. I like my husband and men in general. I think most of them are fine human beings. I don’t require them to act like women in order to come into my circle. In fact, I often prefer the company of men over that of women, because men are more honest and way less emotional.

Second thing to know here is — I am the granddaughter of a suffragette, the daughter of two feminists, and my daughter doesn’t take crap from any man or woman.

When Mary Alyse — what we all called “Grandma” — was a feminist, feminism was a movement for equality. Today, it is a movement for supremacy. The original feminist movement advanced the radical notion that women are people, individuals just as deserving of life, liberty, and property as men. I’m down with that. I live that!

Alaska is often portrayed as a very male oriented society — a state filled with manly men and that is true. Pampered metrosexuals generally need not apply because we’re a rough and tumble place where such folks might break a nail or develop a callus. But Alaska is also where women win the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest. Susan Butcher won the Big-I three times and Aly Zirkle has won the Quest twice. To look at her, you would believe Aly could do it. Susan looked much more delicate. But my point is that men and women are equal here in Alaska.We’re free to choose to do the same things. And generally, we make the same money if we’re doing the same job, although women still often select jobs that don’t pay as well because they are less physically challenging or allow more time with family. That’s the proceeds of the original feminist movement, what my grandmother fought for and my mother proved could be done, with help from my father who was the first Business Agent for the Alaska Culinary Union who would dispatch women as cooks.

Today, though, feminism has become a movement that advocates the radical notion that men are lesser than women as people; that men are less deserving of life, liberty, and property than women; that women are entitled to things just for being women; that one sex is better than the other, just ‘cause. It has gone from being a movement for equality, to a movement for supremacy.

It’s stupid. I’m not sure how I, a woman, would benefit from this inequality. I can’t see how anyone benefits. It complicates my life and I find the whole notion insulting.

According to third-wave feminism, I should want to be paid more simply for being a woman, apparently to make up for the many years that women were paid less than men as a matter of course. The whole idea of being given a raise or promotion based on gender insults my abilities as a person. I do not need their help. I can earn that promotion on my own, thank you very much. My brain is more than capable. My DNA should not privilege me.

Ironically, third-wave feminists intimidate me. I haven’t met a lot of them. They tend to not find a niche here in Alaska, but the few I’ve met put me on edge, ready to defend myself when accused of being an enemy of my sex and a horrible example of womanhood. I’m a “classical feminist” – I am all for voting rights and equal pay for actual equal work. I change my own tires and chop my own wood and I don’t really need a man to do those things for me, although if they want to volunteer ….

I think society ought to have the same expectations of men in the sexual arena as we do of women and I think women who cat around like men cheapen themselves and all the rest of us.

Interestingly, third-wave feminists intimidate men, too. That’s the point. They want men to feel less than. But what follows is destructive. Men like my husband, who is married to me so an active participant in classical feminism, back off and  stop trying. They become weak because shows of strength are deemed wrong. Suddenly humanity’s “other half” becomes less productive, less interesting, and more pathetic. Women, feminists included, then have to contribute much more heavily to the economy and society to support the weaker, less productive half they created. We’ve already seen it underway and I hate it. Men descending to a lower level does not raise women to a higher one. And, then third-wave feminists point to these men who have done what was demanded of them by feminists as a perfect example of why men are less.

Third-wave feminism says I should hate men … those big, stupid oafs. I don’t. I think men are wonderful. I have a lot of close male friends who I would trust with my life if I had to. I admit that I don’t understand them all the time, but truthfully, I am perplexed by women often too. Animosity stemming from lack of understanding — Would that be bigotry?

Yeah, I think third-wave feminists might be sexists.


Left-Wing Cruelty to Black Students   Leave a comment

Image result for image of walter e williamsLast year’s college news was about demands for safe spaces, trigger warnings, and bans on insensitivity. This year’s college news is about black student demands for segregated campus housing and other racially segregated campus spaces and programs. I totally disagree with these calls by black students. It’s a gross dereliction of duty for college administrators to cave to these demands, but I truly sympathize with the problems that many black college students face. For college administrators and leftist faculty, the actual fate of black students is not nearly so important as the good feelings they receive from a black presence on campus. Let’s examine some of the problems. A very large percentage of all incoming freshmen have no business being admitted to college. According to College Board’s 2015 report, the average combined SAT score for white students was 1576 out of a possible 2400. Black student SAT scores, at 1277, were the lowest of the seven reported racial groups ( The College Board considers a SAT score of 1550 as the benchmark that indicates a readiness for college-level work.

Source: Left-Wing Cruelty to Black Students

Posted September 24, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in racism

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Taste Treat #4 of Objects in View   Leave a comment

I got busy yesterday and neglected to post this. Here you go.


Objects in View Front CoverMike headed out of the trailer, pausing in the short corridor to listen to an open radio that was broadcasting the sounds of a firefight. The E6 from earlier spotted him and directed him toward the exit.

“What’s going on there?” Mike asked while retrieving his sidearm and AR.

“Can’t tell you.” The E-6 smelled of fear as he slammed the door in Mike’s face. Mike hesitated in the warm fall evening. Should he go tell Crispin that Eric Faraday was near and going under the name of Shane Delaney or should he keep that information to himself? A true friend would keep it to himself … or tell you that he was a secret agent. Mike needed to work out that dilemma first.

He passed a squad of Army soldiers walking with such a purpose that one of them had the temerity to brush shoulders with Mike. He glanced over his shoulder as they leveled their rifles at the National Guardsmen before the trailer. The young weekend warriors relented quickly. Mike kept walking, hardly flinching when he heard gunfire from within the trailer a moment later. He counted three shots. One for each MP he’d seen and probably one for the E6. That should be enough to bring the rest to heel. Most of the soldiers had surrendered their weapons upon entry.

In a world gone mad, it made a great deal of sense that professional soldiers would take the place of weekend warriors. Shooting them seemed counterproductive, but he could understand needing to gain control over the situation. He hoped K. Lawson had not fought and so survived, but Mike already couldn’t remember his first name, so he knew it wouldn’t matter to his life in the least. What would matter more was the lesson he’d just learned. He’d never relinquish his weapons again. This may not be Miristan, but the same rules apply now. The military is not on our side here.

Objects in View by Lela Markham will publish October 4 on Amazon. It is currently available for preorder and anyone wanting an Advanced Reader Copy to post a review can contact the author at Objects in View is Book 2 of Transformation Project. Life As We Knew It is also available on Amazon.

Very Victorian Problems   Leave a comment

Fiction Gets Real: Classic Literary Characters Transported To The Modern World

Brought to you by Jane Eyre. She’s a character in Annabelle Troy’s novel available on Amazon, Jane Eyre Gets Real. Oh, and Charlotte Bronte wrote about her too.

Image result for women with victorian ringletsYou spill milk but have used all the rags curling your hair.

Image result for women with victorian ringletsYour doll’s wardrobe costs more than yours.

Image result for victorian women in crinolinesYou need three people to help you get dressed in the morning–and you don’t like two of them.

Image result for women in victorian mourning dressesYou can only wear all black when someone dies.

Image result for victorian women in crinolines

Your crinoline doubles as a birdcage.

Image result for victorian women in crinolinesYour skirt WILL catch on fire. But you can use your cloak to put it out.

Image result for victorian women in crinolinesYour friends are as beautiful as you are.

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Posted September 21, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Interview with Heather Biedermann   1 comment

Today’s interview is with Heather Biedermann. Welcome to the blog, Heather. Now, you’re one of the authors in the Agorist Writers Workshop anthology Echoes of Liberty, coming out next week. Tell us something about yourself.

biedermann-heather-author-picHi, Lela! I live in the land of the Vikings in Southern Minnesota. To pay the bills, I am a librarian. I am lucky enough to work in a university and get to work with amazing students and faculty. It really does keep you young! I am married to a great guy and have two rambunctious cats. For fun, I love to go glamping (glam camping) and enjoy traveling to visit friends. If we cross paths, pull up a chair next to me and we can share some wine or beer. I love to hear stories!

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I have always had a love of writing since I was a little girl. I think it has something to do with my weird, overactive imagination. Mostly, I would write for my own enjoyment. I am my own worst critic, so until lately, I haven’t shared many of my stories publicly. Tell us about your writing process. I find it easiest to first daydream a basic story idea – the bare bones of the concept. Then, I write an outline with plot points I want to hit. I research for a day or two. Once I feel comfortable with concept and outline, I go straight into writing. When I’m in the writing mode, I try to write for an hour or two each day. I crank it out as fast as I can. After that, I let it sit a couple of days, to let it breathe. I rewrite and edit. I have someone else look it over. Then, I edit some more. Once I feel it has been picked apart enough, I’m done and won’t look at it anymore. Sometimes you just have to say, “Good enough,” and walk away. It feels pretty good getting to the finish line! What is your favorite genre … to read … to write? I work in a library, so I get a wide variety of great books to read all the time. I go between fantasy, horror and sci-fi for fiction. I have “Devil in the White City,” on my Kindle right now. I’m on a non-fiction binge lately, as well. I have been reading a lot about building tiny houses and getting off the grid. When you are not writing, what do you do? I love watching movies with my husband. We are totally addicted to Netflix, and binge shows together. Also, we play Xbox One games at our house. I’m in the middle of Fallout 4 right now. Where do you get the inspiration for your novels? I am a dreamer by nature. I find that in this hard world, having a vivid imagination is both entertaining and a life-saver. Some of my best ideas come from sitting at work when the library is quietly buzzing with students doing their homework. I saw my story with a superhero team of women come alive out of the quiet of a work day.

What sort of research do you do for your novels?

bierdermann-valiant-high-resolution-640x1024As a librarian, I can really lose myself in research for a novel. I love research! I have access to materials all over the world and the kind of incredible databases that any author would drool over. That said, I always limit myself to a week of research or I never would get around to actually writing my novel! Sometimes, it is better to write and highlight where you need more research later. It can be easier not to get too caught up in it, even though it is something I’m passionate about. If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say? I love to have collisions of normal, everyday experiences with abnormal, unusual events. How would an accountant see an alien invasion? A housewife fights demons, and still finds a way to put dinner on the table and get the kids to school. These are my favorite kinds of stories.

I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have to worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

I would love to get dropped in the remote cabin! There is never enough time to unwind and to unplug. I think it is something everyone should try to do. That is probably why I try to go camping every year. It is a chance to recharge and not feel so constantly connected to everyone. I’d love to explore the land in Alaska and get to know the nature around the cabin. Maybe I’d take a boat out on the lake and fish? I would definitely read a lot. I have a huge collection of books on survival and living off the land. One of my old favorites was the “Back to Basics,” book that talks about how you could make a homestead and live off the land. I would always daydream about doing that someday. I also have a never-ending pile of fiction to read. It would be fun to brush up on my homesteading skills. I’d love to cook big meals and take naps. Also, I’d write as much as possible. It would be a lot of fun. Can I bring my cats and husband, too? I think that would be even better for me.


Talk about your books individually.

biedermann-echoes_front_cover-small-leveledMy first story was published this year in “Valiant, He Endured,” a Libertarian Sci-Fi collection. The story I wrote is called, “The Keep,” and it talks about women in a future prison where the majority of the poor population is housed along with their families. There are elements of the government using technology to placate the population, and the story showcases the human spirit fighting back against an oppressive system. My newest book is the upcoming “Echoes of Liberty (The Clarion Call Book 2)” and I’m really excited to see that come out. The story I wrote for that is called, “The Guard and the Crane.” It is about two families living in California and one family is taken away to a Japanese internment camp. It is important to me to remember what we have done to our own people in this country, and to make sure it never happens again.


Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

One important theme in my writing is that if we let our freedoms constantly be taken away, where does it ever end? Real evil is subtle. It is the sort of like being mugged and thanking your attacker. We see many times freedom taken away to “protect” us. If you don’t stand up for your neighbors, who will stand up for you when the time comes? For self-published authors


What influenced your decision to self-publish?

Self-publishing gives greater control over your content. The turnaround time to get your book into ebook and print format is so much faster in the self-publish world. I have many friends who are self-published, and they have had great success with it. Publishing houses often take a huge cut of profits, so the benefit is really only getting your book in bookstores. Bookstores are sadly on their way out, so really being self-published makes a lot more sense right now.


What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

The greatest advantage of self-publishing is that you control your own content. You get a greater cut of the profits. I feel that if you have fans, you can really tailor your work to them and not have to change your message based on the publishing companies’ goals. It is about your own vision. I really think this is the way of the future.


Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

I think self-published authors do miss out on a lot of the marketing available through publishing companies. Access to excellent editors, graphic designers, and someone to set up book tours is invaluable. However, all of these benefits can be self-taught or outsourced. You may have to spend your own money to get cover art or editing as a self-publisher. You may have to make connections to self-market your own books. Having a publishing company is easier for a newbie, but at a cost.


Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

To have high-quality books as a self-published author, you need to do your homework. You can design your own covers if you are comfortable, but it may turn out better if you hire someone to create your art. Ask around and find people you trust to be honest with you about your skills. The same can be said with editing your own books. I would never do it myself, when I know there are people who excel at each of these tasks that I can pay a reasonable price to. I always think having more eyes look at your novel is better. Errors are embarrassing and make people think you are unprofessional. Take your time to make things perfect and you won’t regret it.


How do readers find you and your books?

Valiant, He Endured: 17 Sci-Fi Myths of Insolent Grit (There Will Be Liberty Book 2)

Echoes of Liberty (The Clarion Call Book 2)

Heather Biedermann’s author page:


Lela Markham is a multi-genre author whose books are available on Amazon and Createspace.

Stay Tuned for Writing Wednesday   Leave a comment

I’m starting my emphasis on Echoes of Liberty, which publishes next week. I will have an interview with one of my fellow authors. I will also post another “taste treat” for Objects in View. And, maybe a writing advice article … if I can just finish it.

Stay tuned. I’m having a productive month.

Posted September 21, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in writing wednesday

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Western Media Credibility   Leave a comment


September 19, 2016

The latest from the Gallup Poll is that only 32% of Americans trust the print and TV media, to tell the truth. Republicans, 18 to 49-year-old Americans, and independents trust the media even less, with trust rates of 14%, 26%, and 30%.

The only group that can produce a majority that still trusts the media are Democrats with a 51% trust rate in print and TV reporting. The next highest trust rate is Americans over 50 years of age with a trust rate of 38 percent.

The conclusion is that old people who are Democrats are the only remaining group that barely trusts the media. This mistaken trust is due to their enculturation. For older Democrats belief in government takes the place of Republican belief in evangelical Christianity. Older Democrats are firm believers that it was a government under the leadership of President Franklin D. Roosevelt that saved America from the Great Depression. As the print and TV media in the 21st century are firmly aligned with the government, the trust in government spills over into trust of the media that is serving the government. As the generation of Democrats enculturated with this mythology die off, Democratic trust rates will plummet toward Republican levels.

The Rest of the Article

Posted September 20, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Media, Uncategorized

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Open Book Blog Hop – 19th September   Leave a comment

Stevie Turner

This week we’re supposed to interview our editor, but I have a problem with that…I edit my own books!  However, I’ve been told that I can write about things I commonly see that I would like to correct, or alternatively I can write about my editing process.

I was a medical secretary for 13 years before taking early retirement, and so am used to typing accurately for GP’s. Sometimes I even had to type as doctors were speaking if they had an urgent letter to dictate.  Sloppy grammar or spelling would have meant me losing my job!

When writing novels, I just type a chapter, read through it to check there are no typos, and then carry on to the next chapter.  When I’ve finished a book I read it through again just to make sure, and run the spell checker.  My publisher Creativia sent me an email recently to let me know…

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Posted September 20, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Echoes of Liberty   Leave a comment

echoes-of-liberty-coverEchoes of Liberty – Out September 27 Watch for Interviews with some of the authors of this liberty-minded anthology right here on the Aurorawatcher Alaska blog.


Lela Markham is a speculative fiction author whose 4th publication Objects in View will be out October 4. If you’re interested in reviewing this apocalyptic tale, contact the author at for an advanced review copy.

Self-Editing   6 comments

This week’s topic for the blog hop is supposed to be interviewing our editors. You can join us or check out my fellow authors here.

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Image result for image of an editorI don’t have a professional editor. A rule around our house is that hobbies must pay for themselves or not cost much to pursue. Brad started an entire business without incurring any debt and that business is still self-supporting. My books, being a small business, must be self-supporting. I do invest my own money in them, but I have a budget, which means that I spend my money on the things I’m not good at — like advertising — and the things I am good at, like editing, are not yet in the budget. When the books make money, that profit is reinvested into the areas where I need help – promotion. At some point, I hope to tip over into the place where I have enough profit to hire professionals like editors and cover designers, but I’m not there yet.

I trained as a journalist and worked as a reporter for a while. I have also worked as an editor in several jobs. So editing is a skill I possess in my personal toolbox.

Of course, an author editing her own book is fraught with difficulty. It’s like driving and navigating at the same time … possible, but complicated. Fortunately, I belong to an author cooperative where I have a ready source of beta readers, often in exchange. It’s all about being honest with each other. If I am ruthless with their work, they learn to be ruthless with mine and pretty soon, we’re all acting like editors.

So what do my beta readers say?

“This is the easiest beta read I’ve ever done,” was what Melissa said about Objects in View. “What’s with all the dialogue tags? You really don’t need them. Stop using THAT word (or phrase)! Didn’t this character have a similar conversation with another character two chapters earlier? You really do dialogue well. It feels natural. You manage to work faith into what is really not a Christian book and not lay it on too heavily.”

Image result for image of a beta readerMelissa wasn’t telling me anything I don’t already know, Objects in View being my fourth published book.

My professional skills come out in that I have gone through the manuscript several times before I turn my work over to betas. And, I will go through the book at least twice after I get the manuscript back.

I was trained in a time when dialogue tags were considered a required part of dialogue. You never wanted to leave the reader wondering who was speaking. These days, we assume the reader can figure it out. But they still work their way into my writing if I’m not thinking about it.

We all have words and phrases we overuse. They sound good to us, so we don’t eliminate them from our writing. We need betas or editors to point them out to us.

Image result for image of a beta readerSometimes my characters are trying to work out something for themselves, so they go back to the same topic again and again with different characters. Unfortunately, that bores the reader, so I have to refrain from doing that, even though I don’t object to it myself in the books that I read.

I know I’ve confessed this before. My characters just sort of appear in my head while I’m doing other things. They start to tell me that story that I end up writing. Well, they also have conversations in my head. Today, I had an interesting one between Shane and Rob while I was working out. While I do change their dialogue to match certain parameters, I am largely just transcribing the conversations I hear in my head. Thus, the dialogue flows. I don’t think that’s a skill. It’s one of the talents that just sort of flow from my writer’s brain. I am much more gratified when someone compliments me on my imagery because, to me, that’s a skill I’ve worked on. Dialogue just sort of happens.

My faith is part of my life. It does not consist of 12 rules that I follow assiduously in an effort to please God. What I believe informs my life. The faith of my characters has the same flavor. I don’t write books for a Christian audience, but I don’t write books intended to offend Christians either.  When you read my books, if there is a Christian character, you will see them portray what I identify as authentic Christianity. That’s faith that is intermingled with a human personality. So, when a character does something that stems from their beliefs, it shouldn’t come off as forced or message-like. It’s simply what they do because of who they are … unless that character has a faith that is external. Yes, sometimes I put hypocrites in my books because those exist in the real world too.

Image result for image of a beta readerI know some really great writer advice sites will insist that you shouldn’t try to publish a book until you can afford an editor. Editors cost a lot of money that I simply don’t have. In order to get around my lack of funds, I have taught myself to be ruthless with my own writing and then I use my betas to add another layer of honest evaluation. Last but not least, my husband and children have become pretty good copy-editors, who pick up the last few typos with red pens going over the physical manuscripts.

Someday I hope my books make enough money that I can afford a professional. I think that will be an interesting experience. Of course, I wonder if an editor will accept (as my betas must) that sometimes I disagree with them and will keep something the way that I originally wrote it just because I think it works best that way. Don’t know, but I look forward to finding out.

Posted September 19, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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