Archive for September 2021

Why Do We Hate This Guy?   17 comments

An Investment in Others

“For [the Kingdom of God] is like a man going on a journey, who summoned his [employees] and entrusted his property to them. To one, he gave five talents (a talent was worth about $25,000, so about $125,000). He gave two talents (about $50,000) to a second employee and to a third employee he gave one talent. He made this dispersal according to each worker’s ability. Then he went on his journey.

The one who received five talents went off right away and put his money to work and gained five more. In the same way, the one who had two talents gained two more. But the third worker who had received one talent went out and dug a hole in the ground to hide his [employer’s] money.

19 After a long time, the [employer of the workers] came and settled his accounts with them. The one who had received the five talents came and brought five more, saying, ‘Sir, you entrusted me with five talents and, see I’ve gained five more (so he now has a quarter-million dollars).

21 [The employer] answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful [employee]! You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 

22 The one with the two talents also came and said, ‘Sir, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more.’ (he now has $100,000). His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful [employee]! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’

24 Then the one who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Sir, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’

26 But his [employer] answered, ‘Evil and lazy slave! So you knew that I harvest where I didn’t sow and gather where I didn’t scatter? Then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received my money back with interest! Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who has 10. For the one who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough. But the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.  Matthew 25:14-29

Two Interpretations

I made a few changes to the text to update the story. There’s two ways to view this story. One is Jesus was talking about spiritual matters. God gives each believer talents and we’re supposed to invest them wisely for His kingdom. If we squander them, we’re wicked and we’ll be tossed out of heaven (this interpretation contradicts other parts of Scripture, by the way).

The other way is to interpret it as an economic tale. A wealthy man has some extra cash and other things to do, so he distributes some investment funds to three employees and then goes about his own business. He doesn’t micromanage them. Two of them understand what he wants — although the story doesn’t detail the conversation, I suspect there either was one or the employees had worked for him long enough to know what he wanted. Two of them got busy making a profit. The third guy, reasoning his employer was an abusive hard-ass, buried his investment seed money in the backyard. Eventually, the employer came back and asked for an accounting. The two entrepreneurs were praised for their industry. It doesn’t appear he asked for the money back (in the end, he gives the one unused talent to the one who “has 10”. Apparently, he’s going to allow them to continue to manage those funds.

Does that sound like an abusive hard-ass? It doesn’t to me. Would you like to work for him? He sounds like a great boss, actually. He invests in his employees, allows them to manage accounts, doesn’t micromanage, and he celebrates their successes with them. He gives them more responsibility when they’ve shown they can handle it.

But the third guy didn’t see it that way. He accused his employee of being abusive and Scrooge-like. You’d think this was a horrible man to work for. Why?

I’m-a Victim-Mentality

Apparently, the socialist assertion of “I’m a victim of the rich man” has been around for time immemorial. Jesus knew about it 2000 years ago. And many of us read this parable and assume the third guy was telling the truth about his employer…ignoring that he had two great interactions with the first two employees. He was generous, he was trusting, he just expected a return on his investment. There’s no real expectations asserted. He would have been happy with bank interest. But the third guy assumed he was not a nice man and so they didn’t have a good interaction. The employer who knew he’d been generous and trusting, was insulted by this man’s false assertion that he was not a good man. “You knew, did you? Well, okay, let me show you the guy you think I am. Get out! Don’t let the gate hit you on the way out.”

It’s hard to blame him. The third employee was pretty ungrateful for what he’d been given.

God Is Not a Cosmic Meany

We can learn multiple things from this parable. It doesn’t require just one interpretation. It’s also important to understand the context in which Jesus told this parable.

Jesus was preaching in a house and just prior to this parable, some men started tearing into the roof to lower a friend on a pallet down to Him because they believed Jesus could heal their friend’s paralysis. Jesus forgave his sins, which might have been a little disappointing to these men who had gone to all this trouble for this man to walk. But the scribes in the crowd were thinking “How dare He pretend He can forgive sins. He’s blaspheming, saying He’s God.” Of course, we know Jesus is God. He was just exercising the authority that was His by right. They were judgmental stone-chuckers. So, Jesus — knowing the hearts of men and reading their thoughts (they never said this aloud) said “Why do you think evil thoughts? Which is easier – to forgive his sins or to heal his legs?”

Let’s be honest. Forgiving sin is mostly invisible. It’s probably the harder thing to do, but it lacks the flash and bang of healing. Most skeptics would think “Uh huh, sure you forgave his sins. Delusional!” Jesus had addressed the paralytic’s bigger problem (sin is always our bigger problem), but just to assure the scribes knew they were thinking evil thoughts, He healed the man. They couldn’t deny what He did when the man picked up his pallet and left the room.

So, it’s interesting that right after this event, Jesus tells a parable about a generous rich man with two entrepreneurial workers and a third who thought he was a victim of a man who had done nothing but good for him.

God is highly generous with those He loves and for those of us who follow Him, there are rarely any regrets. I’ve never met a Christian who at the end of his life looked back and said “I should have been an atheist.” I’m sure a few exist, but I think they’re a minority.

And, yet, there are many people who have misapprehensions about God. They think He’s going to mistreat them. Some of that is the fault of Christians who do mistreat others, but more often than not, it’s simply a mistaken belief — a believe that God is a cosmic meanie and that if they give into Him, He’ll do them harm.

Rich People Can Be Good Guys

Let’s set out at the beginning — there are bad people in this world and some of them invest in businesses for nefarious reasons. Set that aside. They’re the minority. Most investors put money out there to help the business they’re investing in while also gaining a profit for themselves. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. They combine their money with the industry of the investee. A hard-working investee will return a profit, though sometimes circumstances don’t work out. Investors know the risks of providing money to upstart ventures and investees should know that failing at an investment might mean that investor will not be available for the next venture. That’s not being mean. It’s called realism.

We too often destroy our chances in the world because we have an attitude that the world is against us — well, against “the little guy.” We refuse to try because we “know” the world won’t treat us right. “Poor people can’t get ahead.” Even when we meet generous people who are willing to help us, we hold a chip on our shoulder that will not allow us to take advantage of the help offered. “Yeah, I’ll make money, but they’ll make more money.” We self-talk ourselves right out of a beneficial relationship because we’re sure there’s something fishy about any “rich” person willing to risk their money on investing in someone who has less money.

But there are people in our world who look at all investors as evil. “The rich” are the source of every bad thing in society. They’re the reason people are poor. If they didn’t have all that money there’d be more for the rest of us.

For a whole host of economic reasons, this isn’t true. The rich are the job creators in a capitalist society and jobs are the pathway to prosperity. Sitting at home on government benefits is undignified, but it’s also limiting. You are stuck at a certain level of income and you can’t increase it legally (although there are people on government benefits who do engage in illegal activities to increase that limited income). One of the takeaways from the 1990’s Contract with America was that former welfare mothers had higher incomes from their jobs 10 years after they were forced to take jobs rather than sit at home. The wealthy generally create those jobs, either directly by the companies they own or indirectly through investing in smaller companies that then employ workers. Take their money away through taxation and they will create fewer jobs, either by curtailing their own business growth or their investment activities. And, that hurts poor people far more than their accumulation of wealth does.

Should Christians who are wealthy invest more of their spare cash in others? Of course — if indeed they actually have spare cash. One thing you learn if you interview the wealthy is that they often don’t have a lot of spare cash. Their money is invested in the businesses they own — the machinery of production, the buildings, the stock, the vehicles they use to transport that stock, etc. — or in the other businesses they don’t own, but do invest in. That money isn’t liquid. It’s value, not cold hard cash. But, yes, a wealthy person sitting on more than a year’s operating capital should probably consider being more generous with their money. Notice, I didn’t say they should give their money away. It’s a hard truth, but money given is often money wasted. People aren’t even grateful when you give it and they certainly aren’t grateful later when they’re out of money again and want more. Now, money invested and earned — that makes a difference in people’s lives. The rich person’s money mingles with the investee’s industry and creates something of real value.

And that only works if we accept that the rich people aren’t evil and if given the opportunity, can be a force for good in the world. And that’s understanding that in order to have 90 rich investors enriching the world through funding entrepreneurial ventures, you might need to accept 10 rich jerks who hoard their cash.

Posted September 30, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Variety is Spice   13 comments

Sept 27, 2021 Have you experienced or witnessed genre shaming, where readers/authors degrade a genre? If so, how do you deal with it?

Genre Shaming | Washington Independent Review of Books

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.<!– start InLinkz code –><div class=”inlinkz-widget” data-uuid=”6e12e292d33147e7ac9ae46222a54666″ style=”width:100%;margin:30px 0;background-color:#eceff1;border-radius:7px;text-align:center;font-size:16px;font-family:’Helvetica Neue’,Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif”><div style=”padding:8px;”><p style=”margin-bottom:15px;”>You are invited to the <strong>Inlinkz</strong> link party!</p><a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” style=”padding:5px 20px;background:#209cee;text-decoration:none;color:#efefef;border-radius:4px;”>Click here to enter</a></div></div><span style=”display: none;”>http://a%20href=</span><!– end InLinkz code –>[fresh_inlinkz_code id=”6e12e292d33147e7ac9ae46222a54666″]

Shame On You

“Why are you reading THAT?”

She meant well — this member of my Sunday School class who curled her nose up at my copy of Game of Thrones. She then picked up my copy of The Willow Branch, scanned the back page and then tossed it back on the stack.

“I thought you were an educated person.”

Okay, I could have gotten huffy and lost a potential friend, but I wanted to know where she was coming from.

“What have you against Game of Thrones?”

“It’s full of sex and violence. As a Christian, you shouldn’t be holding that stuff in your head.”

My husband would agree with her. He’s never read the book, but when we watched the first Season on disc and Jamie dropped Bran out a window, Brad was done! “How can you fill your head with that image?”

He likes horror films and I feel the same way about his preferred genre. I can take or leave the sex and violence in GoT, but horror creeps me out. It stays with me far longer than the sex scene.

Going back to my Sunday School friend, I then asked “well, what about the other book ‘The Willow Branch‘? Are you familiar with the author?”

Of course, Lela Markham is my pen name and so she didn’t realize she was about to majorly insult me.

“No, she’s a fantasy author and I just have no use for fantasy.”

“What genres do you read?”

“Well, I like Christian literature.” She bent over to look at the Left Behind series, which I stopped reading about five books in. “This is a great series. So Biblical.”

Uh … no! Clearly she didn’t read the same books I read. It’s preTribulation Millennial propaganda. I’m all down with the Bible, but this series tortures the Biblical clues to follow Tim LaHaye’s conception of how Jesus will come back. That wasn’t why I stopped reading it. I just couldn’t go any further after the main character survived a direct nuclear blast. I put up with the manipulative writing until that point and then I was done. In some ways, Shane Delaney getting hurt in Winter’s Reckoning was because I couldn’t have him do one more super-dangerous thing and not get hurt.

My friend expressed horror to find Harry Potter on my daughter’s shelves. I take it she didn’t understand the Kama Sutra or recognize Jack Kerouac. Her finger lingered on a sole copy of The Twilight series.

“How can you let your kids read this crap?”

How indeed! I don’t particularly care for the Potter series, but that’s just a personal style issue. All of Brianne’s friends read Harry Potter, so I read the first couple of books myself before I let Brianne read it and I didn’t find anything truly objectionable. A friend gave her that first book from The Twilight series and halfway through it she brought it from her bedroom and said “Mom, this is the worst book I’ve ever read. I can’t decide if this chick is nuts because she wants to have sex with a guy who considers her dinner or if she’s nuts because her alternative is a werewolf.” I don’t think she ever finished the book and I think she learned a valuable lesson about how a popular book series can be badly written. At some point, you just have to let your nearing-adult children figure it out for themselves.

Shame On You

My book shelves have a lot of books and a lot of examples for someone to shame. Pick a genre. Fantasy, science fiction, a handful of romances (not my favorite). Classics (Treasure Island, anyone?). Non-fiction. Mysteries. Adventure novels. My Friend Flicka. I have hundreds, maybe thousands of books, gathered over a lifetime of reading. They’re organized in broad genres. Some of them I haven’t picked up in decades. Others I’ve gone back to recently. 1984 got a lip curl from my Sunday School friend too.

There are genres I read voraciously when I was a certain age and haven’t read again. I’m not ashamed of having read them. I’ve simply moved on with my life. When Brianne’s boyfriend came to our house for the first time last month, he was amazed at how many books on my shelves he had read. Turns out we’re both fantasy nerds. We got into a long conversation about one of Asimov’s books. He’s got a winter plan to read all my books. I warned him he might not like the Young Adult “What If Wasn’t” series.

You Don’t Have To

I never read horror. That doesn’t mean I care if you read it. Go on, enjoy those books. Just don’t expect me to read them. You don’t like science fiction? Fine. I think you’re missing out, but I’m not here as the reading police. You don’t have to read those books if you don’t want to. Maybe we can find common ground here in the mystery section of my library. No. And, yeah, you’re right, I’m not into reading Amish romances and I’m pretty sure neither are the Amish.

Just because I don’t like a genre doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just means it doesn’t appeal to me. Just because you don’t like a genre doesn’t mean you should shame other people because they do like books of that kind. Sure, if you’re Sunday School buddies and they’re reading 50 Shades of Grey, you might want to discuss how that intersections with their spiritual walk, but people do a lot of incomprehensible things at times. When our kids were little, they weren’t allowed to watch The Simpsons because we felt it was disrespectful to adults. Our really good friends from church thought we were being too strict. We never yelled at them for letting our children watch the show while they were at their house. We knew — our kids told on themselves — but we also used the difference in rules between our two houses to discuss why the difference existed. During our daughter’s recent visit we learned she respected our choices after she’d had a few years to think about it.

Don’t Mess with Sleeping Dogs

Isn’t it great that the world is full of variety? You can enjoy romance novels. I can enjoy science fiction. Our buddy can enjoy War and Peace. My pastor can enjoy thick tomes on Christian history. We can all find things to read that capture our attention. Or we can avoid genres we don’t enjoy. Why is that a problem for some people? Why can’t they just let sleeping dogs lie?

Posted September 27, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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I Am Not An Insect!   6 comments

What is a side skill that has been useful in your life? Where did you learn it? Have you written it into any of your stories?

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.<!– start InLinkz code –><div class=”inlinkz-widget” data-uuid=”68500cfbec9745418450a0d34288989e” style=”width:100%;margin:30px 0;background-color:#eceff1;border-radius:7px;text-align:center;font-size:16px;font-family:’Helvetica Neue’,Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif”><div style=”padding:8px;”><p style=”margin-bottom:15px;”>You are invited to the <strong>Inlinkz</strong> link party!</p><a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” style=”padding:5px 20px;background:#209cee;text-decoration:none;color:#efefef;border-radius:4px;”>Click here to enter</a></div></div><span style=”display: none;”>http://a%20rel=</span><!– end InLinkz code –>[fresh_inlinkz_code id=”68500cfbec9745418450a0d34288989e”]

What Skills Do I Need?

After all, I’m a writer. Besides the ability to write, I shouldn’t need to have any? Right. According to Robert Heinlein, that’s a wrong-headed way of thinking.

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

Well, there you go — a quite lengthy list of side skills that can be useful. So, I decided to see how many of those skills I can tick off.

Change a Diaper

Got this covered. Besides my own two children now walking around as functioning adults, I worked as a babysitter and as an assistant in my mother’s daycare center, so I’ve changed hundreds of thousands of diapers –even ones requiring pins –and I can add to Heinlein’s list that I know how to launder cloth diapers so that soft baby skin doesn’t turn blistered Actually, changing a diaper will play a small roll in the next book of Transformation Project “Worm Moon”.

Plan an Invasion?

It started as more of an infiltration. When I was a little kid boys thought girls had cooties, so us girls decided we would invade their tree fort, which meant tricking them into leaving it so when they got back they’d find us there. I got the bright idea of talking the enlightened male of the group into helping us with this and it worked. We got there, discovered their camp on the end of the woods wasn’t nearly as nice as our toolshed on the end of the woods and gladly gave it back to the boys, who then respected us a bit more — according to the enlightened one who I became friends with in high school. I haven’t used it in one of my books yet, but Transformation Project often sprinkles my side skills into the mix.

Butcher a Hog??

I was raised by a farmer’s daughter and my dad — a Merchant Marine trained chef. When Dad did his apprenticeship, meat arrived aboard ship in slabs and cooks butchered them into various forms for meals. Working shoreside, Dad often had friends who would bring their moose or caribou to him to butcher. Alaska is a hunter’s paradise after all, and while Dad enjoyed a good day fishing, he wasn’t really a hunter, so he’d get a portion of the harvest for his efforts. I observed/assisted in a few dozen butchered moose and caribou and as an adult those skills remain useful. I’ve never butchered a hog, but the concept is the same –drain the blood, cool the meat, don’t let the guts taint the meat, keep everything clean. Shane was in the process of butchering a deer during the events of Winter’s Reckoning.

Conn a Ship

No, I haven’t done this one, but I reserve the right to substitution. I know just enough to keep a small aircraft in the air. General aviation craft are as common here as cars. I don’t have a pilot’s license, but I’ve been allowed to take the controls of a light plane a few times and if I could afford to own my own airplane (insurance is pricy and so is the cost of the annual rebuild) I’d enjoy it quite a lot.

Design a Building/Build a Wall

Yes. Geometry is fairly easy. I’ve designed and helped construct a couple of toolsheds and a cabin in the woods that isn’t complete yet. I haven’t used it in my writing yet, but I suspect I will.

Write a Sonnet?

Not well. I realized many years ago that I was not destined to be a famous poet.

Set A Bone

It pays to have first aid skills when you might be hundreds of miles from the nearest doctors. Technically, I know how to set a bone, but I’ve never needed to use that skill. I did reset my own dislocated shoulder once. It was partially dislocated in a trip-fall incident and tractioned back into place on the hike out. I didn’t know it was dislocated until it popped back into socket. I thought it was just badly bruised. Ow! But, then, oh, so much better.

I used that incident, partially, in Winter’s Reckoning to describe Shane’s injuries.

Accidental first aid aside, I once removed a fishing hook from a friend’s thigh because none of us was ready to end the fishing trip. I stitched the wound closed too. He has a small scar. It hasn’t affected his ability to get a date.

Comfort the Dying

I’d probably suck at this. I’m one of those people who wants to be left alone when I’m sick, so I think I’d suck at the whole holding-of-hands-at-the-bedside thing. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had several people die around me and I’ve been there for them, but they don’t really let you do the bedside ritual thing anymore. It takes special legal documentation to die at home in your own bed under your own terms now. But I do have a scene coming up in Transformation Project that will involve comforting the dying.

Act as an Independent Team?

I’ve taken plenty of orders in my life and given a few. That’s part of living in society, which is meritorious. My first job (other than baby sitter) was working as a cashier/folder in a laundramat that summer I was 16. Technically, I was the lowest of the low, but two days after they hired me, they left me on my own with a storeful of customers and a mountain of laundry. My “orders” were simple — fold laundry, greet people who dropped off dry-cleaning and laundry, fill out their paperwork, help customers with issues with the machines, have the laundry done by the date and time we said it would be done by, collect money, and keep people from trashing the place. Nowhere in that job description required giving orders. The first day alone, I looked up to find some exhausted young mother allowing her kids to “ride” the dryers. I didn’t bother to check with the manager (who was probably out-back drycleaning) to see if children were allowed to do that. They were risking their lovely little lives with equipment I was responsible for. I told the woman to make them stop and when she argued with me, I told her to gather her wet laundry and leave. She then burst into tears (which I hate — not a weepy female — and in Fairbank Alaska in the 1970s, men outnumbered women by at least 2:1, so I knew my boss could replace me with a boy in five seconds), so I “suggested” she leave her laundry to dry and take the kids across the street to the Dairy Queen. She left happy, though probably still exhausted, and no machines were sacrificed in the process. Turned out my supervisor (the company owner) had been watching me the whole time. He didn’t step in because “you had it.” I took the general orders I was given, issued my orders, defined what needed to happen in that context and acted alone as needed. In doing so, I was cooperating in a team of about eight people, most of whom I never met because they came to work after I left for the day.

Solve Equations?

Sure. I’m not a math whizz, but I can do basic algebra. I couldn’t do what Robert Heinlein also didn’t do in Martian Chronicles. His wife Virginia, an actual rocket science, did all the calculations for space travel to Mars. I couldn’t do that. But I can do basic math up to the geometric level.

Analyze a New Problem?

Isn’t that what we do when we set about writing a novel – we create a problem that now must be solved? What if someone hated America so much, they figured out a way to blow up 20 American cities? What happens then? Layer upon layer of analysis goes into a novel. But I also encounter dozens of problems every week that require analysis. I think analysis is a waning art in a society where people just react to the news without even questioning the sources.

Pitch Manure

Okay, so I did not grow up on a midwestern farm like my mother or the characters in Transformation Project. The manure I’ve pitched has mostly been dog manure. Alaskans have dogs and sled dogs live outside in the winter. Ideally, the manure is shoved in early spring before it’s thawed, but people who hire someone to pitch manure probably didn’t think that far ahead so I was standing in spring meltwater, dumping a pile of manure in a wheelbarrow while the yellow-eyed wolf-like dog who created the pile started at me like he wanted his poop back. I think you get the picture and I’ve used that experience a few times in my writing.

Program a Computer?

I’m not an IT professional and have never actually programmed a computer, but I’m a late-stage Boomer, which means the personal computer came on the market while I was in college, so I took a programming course because my journalism advisor suggested we would all need to know how to do this to file our stories someday. I learned how to write and run some very BASIC routines. Two years later, DOS came on the market and I’ve not done anything like programming since. However, that early experience has been very useful more me in jobs over the years. I’ve frequently been the “test dummy” for new software in jobs because I’m comfortable with the process of learning a new system and then passing the hands-on knowledge onto others.

Cook a Tasty Meal.

Not after pitching manure. But, yes, of course, Daughter of a chef and a diner waitress. I can cook. I enjoy trying new recipes. I enjoy watching other people enjoy what I make.

Fight Efficiently?

Okay, so Heinlein had a military career. I’m 5’1″. I’m not winning a hand-to-hand combat with anyone over age 12. But I’ve studied some fighting techniques. I’m sure our neighbors thought I’d lot my mind when my daughter and I practiced with staves in the backyard to see if what I was writing really worked. And, wooden swords with my son also raised an eyebrow or two.

Of course, I’d point out that the pen is mighter than the sword. I also have an intellectual rapier to wield that makes me equal in size to anyone else.

Die Gallantly

I hope when the time comes, I will. Whether you die in your own bed on a Sunday night in September or reloading behind the barricades of the zombie apocalypse, if you did the way you were meant to, with peace in your heart surrounded by people who hold you in theirs — that’s a hero’s death.

Posted September 20, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Balanced Use of Swears   14 comments

Sept 13, 2021

How do you feel about the use of profanity, either in your stories or in what you read?

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.<!– start InLinkz code –><div class=”inlinkz-widget” data-uuid=”a0f5d49b45c0407dbaa8897ec74d5dfc” style=”width:100%;margin:30px 0;background-color:#eceff1;border-radius:7px;text-align:center;font-size:16px;font-family:’Helvetica Neue’,Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif”><div style=”padding:8px;”><p style=”margin-bottom:15px;”>You are invited to the <strong>Inlinkz</strong> link party!</p><a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” style=”padding:5px 20px;background:#209cee;text-decoration:none;color:#efefef;border-radius:4px;”>Click here to enter</a></div></div><span style=”display: none;”>http://a%20href=</span><!– end InLinkz code –>[fresh_inlinkz_code id=”a0f5d49b45c0407dbaa8897ec74d5dfc”]

Trending Toward Profanity

Opinion | The Case for Profanity in Print - The New York Times

In recent decades experts noticed a decided trend to use more and more obscenities, profanity and vulgarity in books written for almost every age.

First, let’s define term. Obscenity is a word or phrase that covers sexual or scatalogical references to the body or bodily functions (so f**k and s**t). The term also has legal ramifications that offend the sexual morality of a given time and place and so the Supreme Court says they aren’t protected by the First Amendment. Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart explained that he couldn’t define what kind of material was obscene, but he knew it when he saw it. In 1973 the SCOTUS ruled in the case of Miller v California that an expression must meet three criteria to be obscene:

1. The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.

2. The work depicts/describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions specifically defined by applicable state law.

3. The work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

If the expression fails to meet any one of those criteria, then the literary work is not obscene. The “average person,” “community standards,” “patently offensive” and “serious value” are all fairly subjective terms, though. Even with the Miller Test, there’s no national standard for what classifies as obscene, and distinctions between protected expression and unprotected obscene expression vary among federal court districts.

Meanwhile, profanity is an expression that is specifically offensive to members of a religious group. The definition extends to expressions of a scatological, derogatory, racist, sexist or sexual nature. What is and isn’t profane mostly depends on the context and the company you keep. There are words we don’t say in church that we might use in the privacy of our garage when we hit our thumb with a hammer.

Vulgarity is generally coarse or crude language. It’s substituting a coarse word in a context where a more refined expression is expected. So that’s like substituting the word “butt” for the word “ass”.

Modern Writing

Swearing and vulgarity in creative writing is on the rise, especially from independent authors not associated with a large publisher. Some authors who use profanity in books believe they are representing the world as it is, and that using profanity makes their writing more authentic and powerful. One author says we need swearing to make our created worlds “bloom with color.” Other writers argue there are more effective ways to make fictional worlds “bloom”. For them, vulgarity is a cheap, convenient device to give the impression the book is up-to-date and realistic.

Important authors of the past wrote amazing works with vivid imagery, compelling scenes, and powerful characters without resorting to swearing or vulgarity. Examples are Homer’s The Odyssey (Homer), Cervantes Don Quijote, Dante’s The Divine Comedy, Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Yes, other great works of literature contain profanity, but most great literature is admired for its powerful imagery, descriptions, language and storyline, and not its dependency on swearing or obscenities.

Since the middle of the 20th century, society has witnessed a marked decline in spiritual and moral values throughout the Western World, including a distinct weakening of traditional sexual mores. There’s been a commensurate radical increase in the use of vulgarity and profanity in the writings of authors. This language and the accompanying behavior is fueled by the obscenities heard every day in sitcoms, movies, and on the street, in schools and the workplace. These trends can be destructive to the quality and value of literature, and they really don’t help sell books.

Target Audience

Although we say we don’t, authors must always consider their target audience. This necessity leads to the multiple genres in writing—science fiction, romance, mystery, crime fiction, historical, etc. Writers who desire to reach as many readers as possible within their chosen genres should seek to avoid shocking their readers with excessive profanity. Many readers today will not be offended by an occasional profanity word or vulgarity, but unless a reader is a member of a very small, specific demographic, the shocking words meant to bring color often pull the reader out of the story because they don’t relate to the continual vulgarity. At the same time, these readers will not reject a compelling book simply because it doesn’t contain profanity.

As an evangelical Christian who didn’t grow up in church, I’m not shocked by an occasional profanity. I also don’t consider myself a Christian author. I’m a Christian who also is an author. I strive to portray Christianity in a truthful manner, but I’m not writing “message” books. As such, I include an occasional profanity and vulgarity because that’s normal life, but I don’t use them as much as many writers in my genres do. I’ve taken some flack from readers for including it at all — “She says she’s a Christian and she dedicates the book to Jesus, but then she dishonors the Savior with swear words.” Uh, yeah, I failed to discover any Bible verses that said Christians should totally disconnected from the society around us and that writers who are Christians should pretend real life doesn’t exist. “In the world, but not of it” doesn’t mean we aren’t aware of modern society’s warts.

I did some research on the topic. Great authors such as Anne McCaffrey, Arthur C. Clarke, Mary Higgins Clark, Amy Tan, and Brandon Sanderson, published bestselling books with little or no profanity. Most top-selling books today by large publishers contain fewer than 40 swears, including novels depicting a great deal of violence. Some traditional authors who are self-proclaimed “potty-mouths” often have fewer than 100 swears in their books. I think it’s entirely possible that these authors’ publishers have a great deal of market research that shows that the “f-bomb” in every other sentence doesn’t sell well with readers. Independent authors would do well to take note of how the big publishers conduct themselves because they have big budgets to do market research. That doesn’t mean we have to follow every jot and tittle of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association guidelines, but we should be aware of the big publishing house standards and strive for that level of professionalism.

Swearing as a Condiment

My own feeling is that authors who resort to swearing and vulgarity give the impression of lacking in class, education, sensitivity, intelligence, taste, and talent. Catcher in the Rye is a great novel, but what most people remember most about it was the overuse of a certain profanity. Punctuating your work with excessive profanity seems lazy to me. Some writing critics say when authors use profanity, they are telling the reader what is going on in the minds of the characters instead of allowing the reader to experience the emotion for themselves. An author’s job is to describe the characters’ emotions and psychological makeup. Profanity is just another “telling” example, like the overuse of adverbs.

My personal policy on profane words is similar to my view on adverbs. I’m not an absolutist. I use both as condiments. A hamburger that was mostly pickle, not even much meat or bun, wouldn’t taste right, but I personally always eat my burgers with a little bit of pickle. My characters use profanity rarely and at extremely appropriate times. When you’re falling off a cliff, it doesn’t make emotional sense to say “Gee, golly, boy-howdy.” I’m a Baptist Sunday School teacher and even I’d rip out with a “s**t” in that circumstance. I’m pretty sure my pastor might too. Thus, it makes no sense to me to limit my characters to mild curses when something stronger is appropriate. I personally don’t swear a lot in the course of my life, but I do know the words because they were an everyday occurrence in the town I grew up in — with a male to female ratio of 4 to 1 and most of the men being construction workers. And, I try to write a realistic world with real-seeming characters and so my characters swear occasionally — some more than others and some of them are offended by hearing others swear and embarrassed when they let one slip — kind of like ordinary people in America’s heartland where the Transformation Project books are set.

When I’m reading a book, I don’t care about an occasional swear, but I don’t like books that have a bunch of profanity for no legitimate reason. I read a book recently that has some scenes from the two main characters’ pasts and the guy of the two has an extremely potty mouth as a high school senior. He used the f-word as an adjective for just about every noun. But then in the current time line, he hardly swears at all — once in a conversation with a guy friend who still has a potty mouth and once when he’s upset about something and then he apologizes for it because he says it in front of a kid. I saw it as a way of showing how much he’d matured over the years. And that’s really the balance I wish to strike–not using euphemisms but not overdoing the use because readers are kind of turned off by it and I really feel that profanity is far too widespread in society and used in inappropriate settings when it doesn’t truthfully convey what it is meant to.

Posted September 13, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Open Book Blog Hop: Sept 6   Leave a comment

Lines by Leon

Open Book Blog Hop – 6th September - featured image

Welcome to this week’s blog hop. (Thanks, Stevie for the topic.)

Does food play an important part in your writing? How about sharing a favourite recipe of one of your characters, or maybe one of yours?

Food is often mentioned in science fiction, from replicators in Star Trek, to food in pill form, and often yeast farms are mentioned. But there is one movie that I am always reminded of when it comes to food in the future, so when I wrote my post-apocalyptic stories and did a series called Found, which were writings and poems that were discovered in a desolate world, I had to include a reference to it:

  1. Link your blog to this hop.
  2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
  3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
  4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
  5. Put a…

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Posted September 8, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Open Book Blog Hop – 6th September   Leave a comment

Stevie Turner

Welcome to this week’s blog hop. Today the topic is:

Does food play an important part in your writing? How about sharing a favourite recipe of one of your characters, or maybe one of yours?

Food not only doesn’t play an important part in my writing, unfortunately it also doesn’t play an important part in the rest of my life either. Long, long ago my mother told me there are two types of people; one type who lives to eat, and another type who eats to live. It was imbued in me from an early age that we should eat to live rather than the other way around, and give our stomachs a rest between meals. Neither my mother, her mother, or myself have ever had any interest in food shopping, food preparing, cooking or baking. I don’t remember Mum ever showing me how to bake a cake, but I…

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Posted September 8, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

What About Texas’ Abortion “Ban”?   5 comments

Texas passed a law concerning abortion and it took effect after the US Supreme Court voted 5-4 allowing it to go forward.

Oh, my god, the world is ending! Every woman in the United States will be forced to carry her father’s kid to term and the country will be flooded with unwanted babies.

Says the World

Hyperbole Much?

Texas's Abortion Law Blunder - WSJ

Supporters of legal abortion argued the court’s acceptance of the Texas law represented a de facto end to rights guaranteed in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, an attack on personal privacy and an introduction of vigilante justice into the court system

In truth, the Supreme Court rejected the challenge to the law because those who brought the lawsuit didn’t have “standing”–meaning they didn’t have a sufficient interest in the case to file a challenge to the law. The Supreme Court did not, therefore, rule on the merits of the law itself — only one whether the challengers could bring a suit before them. They couldn’t, but what does the law say?

What the Law Says

Texas enacted a six-week limit on abortions. This isn’t a complete outlier. Fourteen states have similar restrictions. In fact, Roe v. Wade limits abortions to the 1st trimester — 12 weeks. In 1973, fetal heartbeat was detectable at about 12 weeks, so the limit made scientific sense. About 25-50% of pregnancies end spontaneously before 12 weeks, so the justices at the time could reason that doctors were just doing what nature does. Today, fetal heartbeat is detectable at about 6-8 weeks, so the Texas legislature can argue there is a detectable organism that is distinct from the mother. Other states limit abortions at eight weeks or less or until fetal heartbeat is detectable.

What is unique in the Texas law is that instead of the State of Texas enforcing the law, anyone can enforce the law and attempts to violate the law, thus sidestepping the federal courts…for now.

The law allows judgments up to $10,000 per person per abortion and it applies to anyone who abets an abortion – the doctor, the nurse, the office receptionist, maybe the person who drives the woman to the abortion clinic. That can add up quickly. It provides ordinary people with both the incentive and the means to harass people who regularly end the lives of unborn children.

The law doesn’t make exceptions for rape or incest, but abortion patients themselves cannot be sued.

The new Texas law potentially affects thousands of women seeking abortions. Precise estimates are difficult. In 2020, Texas facilities performed about 54,000 abortions on residents. More than 45,000 of those occurred at eight weeks of pregnancy or less. Those abortions would still be legal under the new law, if they occurred before cardiac activity was detected. So, it’s unlikely to save the majority of imperiled children– just a minority of them whose mothers ignore their symptoms too long.

What Different Then?

What is unique in the Texas law is that instead of the State of Texas enforcing the law, anyone can enforce the law and attempts to violate the law, thus sidestepping the federal courts…for now.

The law allows judgments up to $10,000 per person per abortion and it applies to anyone who abets an abortion – the doctor, the nurse, the office receptionist, maybe the person who drives the woman to the abortion clinic. That can add up quickly. It provides ordinary people with both the incentive and the means to harass people who regularly end the lives of unborn children.

Texas is one of 14 states with laws either banning abortion entirely or prohibiting it after eight weeks or less of pregnancy. The rest have all been put on hold by courts. Most recently, a court halted a new Arkansas law that would have banned all abortions unless necessary to save the life of the mother in a medical emergency. Other states with blocked laws banning abortions early in pregnancy are Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.

What Happens Next?

The case is still alive in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court’s standing decision doesn’t reinstate any stricken abortion laws in other states. It’s possible the Supreme Court has given other states a roadmap for circumscribing Roe vs. Wade and other Republican lawmakers have taken note.

Arkansas Republican state Sen. Jason Rapert tweeted he planned to file legislation mirroring Texas’ law so the Arkansas Legislature can consider it when it reconvenes this fall. The session agenda has already been limited to congressional redistricting and COVID-19 legislation, so it Rapert may have to wait for next year’s session.

Mississippi Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel believes most conservative Southern states will consider this an opportunity to move on the later-term abortion issue. Mississippi’s legislature is scheduled to start meeting in January. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will hear arguments this fall on a 2018 Mississippi law that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy — a case that is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.

Vigilante Justice?

Some states have already turned to citizens to enforce new laws.

A Missouri law recently took effect allowing citizens to sue local law enforcement agencies whose officers knowingly enforce any federal gun laws. Backed by Republicans concerned over Democratic President Joe Biden’s rhetoric on gun control policy, the law imposes fines of up to $50,000 per occurrence on police and sheriff’s departments can face fines of up to $50,000 per occurrence.

In Kansas, frustration over coronavirus restrictions prompted a law that allows residents to file lawsuits challenging mask mandates and limits on public gatherings imposed by counties. Last month, the Kansas Supreme Court allowed enforcement of the law to proceed while it considers an appeal of a lower court ruling that declared the law unconstitutional.

Utah also took a similar strategy on pornography in 2020, passing a law allowing citizens to sue websites that fail to display a warning about the effects of “obscene materials” on minors. Though adult-entertainment groups warned it was a violation of free speech, many sites complied with the law to avoid the expense of a possible onslaught of legal challenges.

And let’s be honest here – citizens filing their own lawsuits is the backbone of environmental and disability-rights law, Environmental groups, for example, file suits against businesses accused of violating federal pollution permits and then larger actors in the field join them to give the suits more weight in court.

For example, California’s Proposition 65 allows people who may have been exposed to potentially carcinogenic materials to both file their own lawsuits and collect a kind of “bounty” if they win. Those laws are different, though, in that people generally must show they have been directly affected by a violation of the law, a feature missing from the new Texas measure.

What’s Likely to Happen?

Challenges will work their way through the system. It appears this Supreme Court likes to send challenges back to the lower courts until a very significant similar case comes up and then the SCOTUS announces a ruling that encompasses those other cases. At least three of the “conservative” justices on the Court are strong believers in stare decisis – let the decision stand–so they are not likely to overturn Roe v Wade, even though they may personally disagree with the now 50-year-old ruling. However, they might strike a compromise that brings the current practice of abortion back into line with Roe v Wade. Most people today don’t realize that Roe only blocked state abortion restrictions in the first trimester. States have struggled with this ever since — how to deny later-term abortions. Certainly abortion of a child who would be viable if it were born naturally is a violation of the spirit of Roe as well as commonsense and yet it happens all over the country in states that haven’t defined what viability means. Maybe the Supreme Court could settle the question.

The concept of ordinary people being enabled to harass abortion providers (but not abortion patients) is an interesting one. Being accused and ostracized for killing babies might make some providers uncomfortable enough to decide to quit their profession.

My only real issue with the Texas law is that it doesn’t allow exceptions for incest. I’m less concerned with rape because you know you’re at risk for pregnancy after rape and you should be self-testing yourself every week and going for an abortion when you come up positive. Incest victims don’t have those options and are often unable to avail themselves of the services. It does have exceptions for medical necessity.

I also believe strongly that most abortions are sought by women who were careless with contraception. Modern contraception is highly effective and highly accessible. You can get a diaphragm at any family-medicine office for under $250 and a tube of spermicide is available at most grocery stores for under $15. Insurance pays most of the cost of the diaphragm — office visit to device. My insurance will even reimburse the spermicide if I file the right paperwork. A properly fitted diaphragm with liberal use of spermicide has an +95% effectiveness.

My insurance will pay for all of the cost of contraceptive pills (though they only have a 91% effectiveness for preventing pregnancy). Combined with condom usage, both methods are +99% effective. The ACA got exactly two things right — allowing kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26 and covering conception medications and devices. Abortion should be much rarer than it currently is. I suppose women who can’t be bothered to take a pill every day or use a diaphragm every time they have sex can’t be expected to recognize the symptoms of pregnancy. I learned I was pregnant a week and a half weeks after my daughter’s conception, so I was very aware of those early symptoms. I recognized I’d been experiencing them for a week already. Four weeks would have been plenty of time to get an abortion, even though I would have had to travel to Anchorage (about 400 miles) at that time. When I became pregnant with my son, we weren’t planning it. I felt the early symptoms, thought maybe it was a flu bug, missed my period, decided it wasn’t the flu, and I self-tested at four weeks. If I’d wanted an abortion, I would have two weeks to get an abortion.

Women need to take responsibility for their own bodies and most of us miss our first period about two weeks after conception. Some women have less regular periods, but there are other subtle symptoms that should trigger a self-test. And the Texas law would eliminate only 11,000 of 54,000 abortions. Most women know they’re pregnant before six weeks, before there is a fetal heartbeat.

Quit Panicking

Yeah, the Texas law is pretty bold, based on science (heartbeat) and makes a nod toward Roe’s standard of the 1st trimester. The Supreme Court didn’t rule it was constitutional. They simply said the challengers didn’t have standing. It’s possible they will include this case in the Mississippi case when it comes before the Court. Roe has not been struck down. It’s been challenged, asked to make itself clear. That’s not a bad thing. Roe is 50 years old. Science has changed in that time. Maybe it’s time to have a conversation about how a standard ought to adjust to the era. Which doesn’t mean the Supreme Court is infallible. A long ago SCOTUS ruled on Dred Scot v Sandford. That 1857 ruling, like Roe, stood at the intersection of law and politics. And 20 years later, following the most horrific war Americans ever fought, it was overturned. Should Roe be completely overturned? I don’t think so. Should it be modified based on new information? Yes, probably.

Posted September 8, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Kitchens Rule   20 comments

Sept 6, 2021

Does food play an important part in your writing? How about sharing a favorite recipe of one of your characters, or maybe one of yours?

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.<!– start InLinkz code –><div class=”inlinkz-widget” data-uuid=”382df102d1a14994a3c0281549966f83″ style=”width:100%;margin:30px 0;background-color:#eceff1;border-radius:7px;text-align:center;font-size:16px;font-family:’Helvetica Neue’,Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif”><div style=”padding:8px;”><p style=”margin-bottom:15px;”>You are invited to the <strong>Inlinkz</strong> link party!</p><a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” style=”padding:5px 20px;background:#209cee;text-decoration:none;color:#efefef;border-radius:4px;”>Click here to enter</a></div></div><span style=”display: none;”>http://a%20rel=</span><!– end InLinkz code –>[fresh_inlinkz_code id=”382df102d1a14994a3c0281549966f83″]

Food in My Fictional Worlds

Food plays different roles in my fictional worlds, depending on the situation.

Daermad Cycle

I pay attention to details in Daermad Cycle (The Willow Branch and Mirklin Wood, Fount of Wraiths coming this year) as part of the world-building process of a Celtic fantasy world. The characters live in a feudal society where the farmers pay taxes in crops and merchants pay taxes in goods. Coin exists but it’s mainly used by people who sell services — innkeepers, for examples. This dictates the sort of food my characters have access to. The poor rarely eat beef because milk is a renewable protein resource. They know the nobility enjoy beef, so they pay their taxes on the hoof should a male calf be born to their milk cow. Pigs eat ANYTHING and their meat is tasty so poor people are more likely to raise them for meat. Sheep give you great cloth and can be eaten when they get old. Chickens give you eggs (another renewable protein source) and you can eat the extra males. The poor eat a simple diet of meat (often pork, mutton, and poultry) and vegetables (turnips and parsnips since potatoes don’t exist in their world), with barley bread. Barley porridge and bread for breakfast. The reason barley is so common is a function of taxes. The nobility demand a certain amount of wheat but they don’t require barley, so most wheat goes to the nobility in taxes while barley is sold for profit. What wheat is left over is sold to wealthier merchants at a higher profit margin. There are guilds that control the price of wheat to assure the poor can’t really afford it.

There’s also some geographic variation. People who live in the north rarely eat fish because they’re too busy growing food to spend them putting a line and hook in a stream. People who live in the south, along Celdrya’s coast, eat a lot of fish because there are fishermen catching and selling fish. Both the nobility and the commoners eat fish, but they tend to prepare it differently.

In Celdryan society everybody drinks ale because some Celdryans haven’t figured out not to put their midden heaps and outhouses next to the well and the alcohol in ale kills those nasty bugs. Even children drink watered ale. The nobility and wealthy merchants also drink mead and wine, but the wine is imported from Hanalan (a more southerly country), so only the wealthy can afford it. Only very well-healed taverns sell it, but ale comes in two varieties–light and dark. The dark has more alcohol and thus costs more.

The Celdryans eat what might be termed a Euro-medieval diet, but the neighboring Kin eat a more plant-based diet often with wild game meat and rye grain because they live in the mountains. They tend not to keep cattle, preferring goats for their milk and general hardiness. They also keep sheep and tend to eat mutton for special occasions. Drinking spirits is not as common as in Celdrya. Because they live in the mountains, they don’t have worry about human sewage and they actually do know that your outhouse and midden heaps should be far away from the cisterns.

My characters are both nobility and commoners, Celdryan and Kin. Padraig — the part-elven son of a Celdryan nobleman who chose to become a commoner — walks in both worlds, but I try to pay careful attention to what he eats when he’s with one group or the other. It matters. It’s a subtle backdrop to the stratification of society. I don’t draw attention to it, but it’s there for Daermad Cycle readers to notice if they care to.

Transformation Project

In Transformation Project, my characters are starving. It’s the apocalypse after all and food is running out. In the beginning of the series (Life As We Knew It), I spent a lot of effort to concentrate on what they were eating because I knew they’d soon be starving. I described the food Shane, Mike and Alicia ate at a Mediterranean restaurant. I identified the coffee Shane likes to drink. I described breakfast at the Lufgren Farm. I wanted to show that life was normal, even abundant in the life they knew. Even in Objects in View (Book 2), I did a little bit of food (and booze) focus because I knew where I was headed in coming books. Now, in Worm Moon (draft) there’s discussions of cannibalism. I imagine the Delaney family ate pretty much what my family eats, just swap out an occasional caribou roast with deer. And now, they down to “licking postage stamps for the calories” as the always-up-for-a-quip Stan Osimowitzc said in A Threatening Fragility.


Fried Green Tomato Sandwich with Bacon and Pimiento - Taste and Tell

It’s fall here in Alaska and we’re trying to get our tomatoes to ripen before it becomes too cold for them. They’re all wearing plastic bags right now, but they might have another week. But if they don’t ripen before nature closes down the growing season, I will definitely make fried green tomatoes. So, here’s my recipe.

Ingredients (feeds four)

4 medium to large green tomatoes

2 eggs

1 cup AP flour

1/2 cup corn meal

Kosher salt to taste

Ground pepper to taste


Frying oil – I prefer about a half-inch of oil in a cast iron skillet, but the lady who developed this recipe with me (a true Southerner transplanted to Alaska) likes to use a quart of oil (that’s too much for me. Opinions very.)


Fry the bacon.

Remove bacon to draining plate.

Add frying oil to bacon grease. Heat pan to medium.

Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick

Dust with AP flour

Beat eggs with a splash of milk.

Dredge flour-dusted tomatoes in egg-mixture.

Dredge in corn meal. (If you like really crunchy tomatoes, dredge in eggs again and then toss in bread crumbs. I prefer Italian style when I do it. My son finds them overdone, so I tend to go with the simpler recipe).

Place the tomatoes 4-5 at a time in the hot oil and grease mixture. Flip when golden brown. When second side is golden brown, remove to a drain plate. Serve with bacon or as a Bacon-Lettuce-Tomato sandwich. (Even better with cheese).


Add sliced potatoes and onions to the still hot pan and fry until done. Serve as a side with the bacon and tomatoes for a more dinner-like presentation. Add some bread to round it all out.

Quite tasty!

I wonder what my fellow blog-hoppers are cooking up.

Posted September 6, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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