Archive for the ‘humor’ Tag

Personhood   4 comments

January 13, 2020

Your characters have been placed in Witness Protection. What three truths about themselves do they want to keep?

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Boomerang Ideas

This is an interesting topic. Someone else sent it to me and I submitted it to our fearless leader PJ MacLayne, not expecting her to decide to use it immediately. YIKES!

Transformation Project

I can’t think of any of my characters who would enter the actual Witness Protection program because most of the people entering that are criminals who have rolled over on other criminals. Some of my characters aren’t as pure as the fresh-driven snow, but none of them are rolling over on the Bononno family. I really had to think long about this question.

Spies Live a Similar Life

I have characters who have changed their identities to go undercover working for the government. Shane Delaney is also Eric Faraday and Joel Rhys. He lived for four years as Eric “Ric” Faraday while Joel Rhys was a paper identity to hide his assets. As “Eric”, Shane kept a lot of his past identity. He was vague about what state he grew up in (somewhere in the Midwest to explain his accent) and he just didn’t say the names of family. But he kept that he’d graduated from Embry-Riddle with a degree in aeronautical engineering. His name was a compilation of his real middle name and his mother’s maiden name, chosen for the ease of remembering them. Shane explains to someone who was a friend during his undercover days who has discovered his real identity “I didn’t lie much beyond my name because the more lies you tell, the harder it is to keep it all straight.”

Returning to Real Life

Javier Chavez is also Francis Xavier and Martin Pulgarin. Javi was much further undercover with some really dangerous people. Francis Xavier was technically a terrorist because terrorists only allow other terrorists to get close enough to collect information on their terrorist activities. Javier kept almost none of his identity for that role — his age and his gender — because those are hard to change and fairly intrinsic to who most people are.

His next identity of Martin Pulgarin didn’t last long and he added being a Spanish speaker. Now that he’s decided to be Javier Chavez (his real name) it is a bit like being in Witness Protection because he hasn’t been Javier Chavez in more than a decade and even that identity is pretty thin. He grew up with no family, an orphan in foster care with a string of custodians. He barely remembers his parents and has had limited romantic relationships. He isn’t sure what he values now that his job as a spy is over. He’s building a brand-new identity, made more poignant because he’s going blind and he may have found a woman who seems to accept him for who he has never had a chance to be.

Currently, he’s keeping a few things. He’s a male in his early-to-mid thirties. He’s keeping his name because he’s come to realize that living lies has negative consequences. Speaking Spanish is the one thing he got from his parents and it’s a valuable skill he can still use when he can’t see. Another tenuous connection he’s keeping is Ami, his lover. Is he keeping her because he loves her or because he’s going to need her help when he can’t see at all? Well, we’ll find out when the time comes. And because I am a discovery writer, I don’t actually know that answer. I’m not even sure why he’s going blind. I know the science behind his medical condition, but I don’t yet know the story purpose behind his blindness. I’m pretty sure if Javi could vote on it, it wouldn’t be his choice to give up his eyesight to become a new person.

Asking Myself

This topic forced me to ask questions of myself — what would I keep if I were forced to forge a new identity. My answers are different from what my characters answered and that’s important because my characters aren’t me. They’re merely the voices in my head that want their stories told.

I Can’t Breathe for Laughing!   6 comments

Here we go. I can’t believe it’s Thursday already!

April 1, 2019

What’s the one thing guaranteed to make you laugh?

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This is an EASY one for me!

My husband makes me laugh! Some people think this is a paradox – like some sort of space-time loop that’s going to eat the universe – because Brad has seriously made me cry some real tears in our 35-years of acquaintance. He is a many-layered person and not all of those layers are fun to explore.

But the ones that are – OH, MY, WHAT A FUN HOUSE!

A part of growing up in an extremely dysfunctional family is that you either learn to laugh at all the shenanigans that go on around you or, sometime in your teens or twenties, you put a gun in your mouth and pull the trigger. Yeah, that’s a horrifying word picture, but metaphorically speaking, it’s what you do when you pick up the bottle or the bong or any one of a thousand other activities that numb you out instead of legitimately making you feel better.

Brad has a baggage train that, metaphorically, stretches to Anchorage. Mine only maybe ever stretched to Nenana and, thanks to the self-examining nature of writing, I’ve paired it down to a small carryon and a laptop bag. One thing I haven’t jettisoned is the ability to laugh at things that most people consider horrifying because I too had to learn to laugh or start heavy-duty substance abuse and I prefer to be able to feel my body and emotions. The fun part is that the oxygen deprivation of not being able to draw a breath because you’re laughing too hard kind of approximates the endorphin rush of substance abuse.

To understand this – my favorite professional comedian is Christopher Titus.

Brad’s family stories — good times … NOT. He could give Christopher Titus a run for his money in parental horror stories. But you laugh or you put a gun in your mouth (or in Brad’s case, drink a liquor store), so laugh it is. Oh, yeah, laugh until you need a shot of oxygen and you pee your pants. WAY better than tequila and without the hangover!

Like Titus, sometimes Brad is telling seriously funny stories that anyone would laugh at. He sees the irony in everything. He catches the humor people don’t intend and reveals it. Other times, the hilarity is the punch line to Armageddon. And you’ll notice that I’m not actually sharing any of these jokes. That’s because they’re organic and they wouldn’t be funny taken out of context.

Like – “post-homicidal depression”. Not funny, right? Brad coined that phrase to explain what happened to a friend of ours after he killed a guy in a drunk driving incident. Not funny? Very serious, depressing topic (background biographical for my work-in-progress What If Wasn’t). And, our friend has struggled for a quarter century with the guilt and PTSD from that incident and the resulting prison sentence. What could be funny about that? Yeah, well, the friend and I can’t breathe for laughing when Brad spins up the jokes on the topic. Some people would think that is really insensitive, but he turned an incredibly depressing topic into something not-quite-so-depressing by teaching our friend how to laugh about it. And, no, no one (especially our friend) thinks what he did is a joke (notice I called it an “incident” not an “accident”), but laughing is better than sticking that gun in your mouth and pulling the trigger, and yeah, 24 years after the fact, the guy deserves an occasional break from feeling like crap about it. The sad will return. Make no mistake about that.

So what is GUARANTEED to make me laugh? Christopher Titus, my husband, and anyone else who can see the light at the end of darkness and have hope it’s not the fires of hell — AND can share that scorched perspective with great timing.

By the way, if you want to read something I’ve done that tore a page from Brad’s “How to Laugh at Things Far Too Many People Take Far Too Seriously” book, check out my political satire Hullabaloo on Main Street, where I laugh at the era of Trump from a libertarian perspective, which means I get to poke fun at EVERYBODY. And, I didn’t make any of it up. Most of it is what’s going on in my head when other people are freaking out about the bubble wars. Currently, both sides are spun up about the overview of the Mueller Report, each interpreting to their own confirmation bias. And, I find that utterly hilarious in the same way I find Brad’s horrifying family stories utterly hilarious. And therein lies a GREAT reason to laugh until you nearly pass out and the couch needs a steam cleaning.

Honestly, this recovering dysfunctional child is here to tell you – if you can’t laugh at the shenanigan’s going on now, you are taking American politics WAY TOO SERIOUSLY and need a literary intervention.

Weary of Politics?   Leave a comment


Hullabaloo Tugawar Front CoverFor a committed democrat, it sure does suck when you lose an election.

You know what I mean?

Nearly half the country refuses to listen to the other half. We think we know what the other side means, but we never venture outside our own bubbles to actually find out. 

Libertarian Connor infiltrates both bubbles in a Midwestern town on Election Wednesday 2016 and brings readers along for a wry non-partisan tour of the “Bubble Battles.” He even offers a solution … not that any bubble dwellers will listen.

This novelette is a work of fiction based upon real-life events. Any resemblance to yourself or people you know is purely coincidental.

“In today’s crazy world of intense politics, Lela Markham brings a little bit of satirical humor to the table in Hullabaloo on Main Street. No party is safe from Markham’s humor in this quippy fun novel. It’s fun to step outside of ourselves and take a laugh at this book’s jabs. Great for anyone a little weary of today’s dire political tone looking for a bit of humor.” Joshua Grant


“I wrote it to make people laugh, to see that politics is not the end of the world, to help ease some of the tensions between the left and the right by showing that there is a third perspective. It’s been two years and we’re still having the same shouting match, now with physical violence. We surely need to take a pause and laugh a little at our own folly, because there’s always a winner and loser in politics and it’s interesting when the “winner” of the midterms still feels it is necessary to assault the wife of a journalist because they don’t like what he reports.”  Lela Markham

Posted November 13, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in book promotion, Uncategorized

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Defining Racism   Leave a comment

So I’m on the tread mill just before Christmas, pre-sweating for my pumpkin pie, when Tucker Carlson’s hilarious list of 100 things people have deemed “racist” in 2017 comes up. It took me a while to find it — mainly because I wasn’t trying very hard — but it really is funny.

“We live in revolutionary times,” Carlson told his followers on Twitter.


Image resultCarlson gave each “racist” item its own separate tweet, and while the list is worth reading in its entirety, I just couldn’t do them all. I have novels to write.

Apparently TREES are now racist. A group of trees in Palm Springs, California, was considered racist because the trees separated an upscale golf course from a historically black neighborhood. City officials promised to kill the trees, ridding Palm Springs of a longtime symbol of oppression.

DISNEY movies are now racists, according to Kat George, a writer for VH1’s website, who insisted that in 2017 some of your favorite Disney movies are racist. The Little Mermaid was listed as an offender because Sebastian, Ariel’s crab sidekick, spoke in an exaggerated Jamaican accent. Maybe he was a Jamaican crab.

MILK is now racist. Who knew? Who cared? It’s apparently became a symbol of the alt-right and neo-Nazis this year because racial minorities may be more likely to suffer from lactose intolerance. Even worse, the USDA’s dietary guidelines further such oppression by advertising dairy as an essential part of a healthy diet. As an American Indian who does indeed get gassy if I drink too much milk … get over yourselves. Seriously? If you don’t like milk or can’t drink it … don’t. My brother, as American Indian as I am, loves milk. Does that mean he’s self-loathing?

SCIENCE is apparently now racist. Students in South Africa declared that science is racist because it cannot explain “black magic” — no, really.

“I have a question for all the science people. There is a place in KZN called Umhlab’uyalingana, and they believe that through the magic, the black magic–you call it black magic, they call it witchcraft–you are able to send lightening to strike someone,” one student explained. “Can you explain that scientifically? Because it’s something that happens.”

Military CAMOUFLAGE is also racist. Don’t use face paint while sneaking through the jungle, or you might be accused of racism! The British Army was accused of donning “blackface” after they posted a picture of a soldier wearing dark face paint and holding a rifle.

Some CEREALS are now racist. A diversity officer at Miami University was actually open to the idea of banning Lucky Charms because some undercover students claimed the cereal was racist against Irish Americans. Yikes. Brad, did you know about this? Were you upset when the kids would eat them when they were little? No? How out of touch with your cultural roots can you be? Get angry! Be enraged! Where’s the war-bag?


Apparently TIMELINESS is now racist. Expecting students to show up on time to class might be insensitive to “cultural differences,” Clemson University said in a diversity training program.


BABIES are also racists. According to a study by the University of Toronto, babies show preferences to adults of their own race. Should we start diversity training in the nursery?

You can follow the full thread on Tucker’s Twitter account HERE. 

Posted February 2, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense

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I Am a Victim of Your Hateful Hate Crimes, You Hate-Criminals   Leave a comment

Don’t read this while drinking a beverage. Spew alert!

By Kurt Schlichter
The Burning Platform

Image result for image of libertarian view of hate speechAs a person of absolutely no color who embodies an intersectional reality that includes my utter lack of genderfluidity and my unemployment-questioning, differently-veteraned, and non-pagan experiences, I am totally oppressed by progressivism’s hegemonic power structure. I am also the victim of a systemic system of hostile paradigms that denies my truth regarding my phallo-possessory identity.

My struggle is real, and my male-identifying genitalia will no longer be silent!

I bear a heavy burden in the form of my pasty, easily-sunburned skin. For too long, the fact that a previous Schlichter was booted out of Stuttgart in 1750 has meant that I have been subject to the hateful discourse of unabashed Fritzophobes. And that’s when society hasn’t stolen my Teutonic legacy outright. You are culturally appropriating my cold, emotionless people’s heritage every time you are punctual and efficient.

The same is true regarding my Scot ancestry. You shamelessly pillage the cultural treasures of the folk of the moors whenever you speak unintelligibly, or refuse to spend freely and without restraint. Enough of your condescending Braveheartism.

Current Prices on popular forms of Silver Bullion

My kilt, my choice.

Even in my own home, I am oppressed. I live under a tyrannical framework of Cubano-supremacy. I am constantly reminded of my minority status as the only non-Latino in the family whenever I am prepared to leave on time while everyone else is still getting ready, whenever I am belittled for my love of mayonnaise, and whenever I am forbidden to dance in public.

“Intersectionality” means that I have lots of complaints about various stuff that I am, and I’m just getting started.

For instance, I am seen as enjobbed, in that I have a job and support my family. This hateful label marginalizes me and subjugates me to the stereotyped role of “provider” and “useful member of society.” It cruelly differentiates me from preferred progressive social actors, like “bums” and “welfare cheats.” The progressive paradigm is, after all, based upon compelling non-Democrat bodies to toil to generate tax revenue for the government to give to freeloaders.

My veteranness also makes me a target for othering. My soul roils from the conscious and unconscious prejudice poured upon me every time someone asks me if I was drafted, or if the Army is the one with Marines. Why don’t you just burn a hammer and sickle in front of my quarters, you monsters?

And no, I don’t have PTSD. I’m just really annoyed by you.

I am also victimized for my unpaganhood, and I am constantly pressured to conform and accept weird weather religions and the theological musings of internet hipsters who think the idea of Christian grace is some sort of supernatural point system where you get into heaven for accomplishing a set number of good deeds. I reject these attempts to subjugate me to the dominant discourse, just as I reject the liberal Jesusplaining that seeks to steal my savior and turn him into some sort of socialist hippie, a Bernie Sanders in a robe who thinks the only sin is generating too big of a carbon footprint.

And then there is the systemic hate for my rigidly male monosexual identification and my pronounced pro-chick agenda. Too often those of you who are genderfluid deny the identity of those of us who are gendersolid.

Finally, it is time to reject society’s paradigm of unphallused privilege. This bias results in interlocking systems of domination that produce the conditions under which oppressed peoples like me are forced to live, and usually manifests in me getting called whenever someone needs help lifting something heavy.

Those of us who wield a penis demand that you cease your dehumanizing unmale gaze and validate the manly values that stand firm against your anti-testicular hegemony.

We male-identifying men proudly shout out these radical truths:

Boys don’t cry, and it is lame to shed a tear in public, except on Memorial Day or when a dog dies.

Feelings are stupid, except for patriotism and a love of dogs.

Guns are awesome because they shoot solid lead freedom. Every man should have several guns. And several dogs, because a man with a cat is a woman.

Also, no man should ever listen to Maroon 5. Nor should anyone else. Including dogs.

We will no longer be man-junk marginalized. From this moment forth, my people’s pronouns are “he,” “him” and “if you touch my stuff, I’ll slug you.”

Your hate speech against us, which is defined as anything you say that we don’t like, must be banned, starting on campuses. As fellow social justice warriors have observed, “Free speech, a right many freedom movements have fought for, has recently become a tool appropriated by hegemonic institutions. It has not just empowered students from marginalized backgrounds to voice their qualms and criticize aspects of the institution, but it has given those who seek to perpetuate systems of domination a platform to project their bigotry.”

Right on! I mean, how could normalizing limitations on free speech ever backfire? You social justice warriors surely shouldn’t worry about this kind of thinking being expressed by people who don’t like you and who have a lot of guns.

Our initial non-negotiable demand is for a safe space for all German/Scot-Employed-Judeo/Christian-Veteran-Straight Males-Of Relatively Good Health on every college campus, as well as a Department of German/Scot-Judeo/Christian-Veteran-Straight Males-Of Relatively Good Health Studies to explore the issues regarding, and the terrible social stigma and prejudice faced by, us German/Scot-Judeo/Christian-Veteran-Straight Males-Of Relatively Good Health. We further demand a curriculum that teaches using unique German/Scot-Judeo/Christian-Veteran-Straight Males-Of Relatively Good Health pedagogic strategies, like “reading” and “studying.” It must also educate us about suppressed German/Scot-Judeo/Christian-Veteran-Straight Males-Of Relatively Good Health truths, like about how the Chinese stole the idea for the Great Wall from Deutschland’s autobahns, and how Steve McQueen is a million times cooler than Ryan Reynolds will ever be.

That is our intersectional reality; that is our cry for revolution. We refuse to allow the forces of social injustice to continue to deny our existence, and our suits, clean shaves, and combed hair shall be the transgressive body modifications that demonstrate our alienation from the dominant paradigm.

No longer will we allow our pallor to render us invisible!

No longer will we tolerate being left out of the acronym LGBTQ!

No longer will we be scrotum-shamed!

Posted June 15, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense, Uncategorized

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Free for the Launch   Leave a comment

Hullabaloo Front CoverHullabaloo on Main Street debuted today and it will be free for the next two days. Go out and grab a copy and then leave a review.

Come take a tour of America’s “bubble battles” in the wake of the 2016 Presidential election. Libertarian Connor wryly observes his neighbors on both sides of the political divide and offers a solution we can only hope the bubble dwellers will consider.

This novelette is a work of fiction and any resemblance to yourself or people you know is purely coincidental.

Free for First Two Day   Leave a comment

Hullabaloo Front CoverHullabaloo on Main Street debuted today and it will be free for the next two days. Go out and grab a copy and then leave a review.

Come take a tour of America’s “bubble battles” in the wake of the 2016 Presidential election. Libertarian Connor wryly observes his neighbors on both sides of the political divide and offers a solution we can only hope the bubble dwellers will consider.

This novelette is a work of fiction and any resemblance to yourself or people you know is purely coincidental.

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