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I read about this little boy over at Angry Black Bitch’s blog. It depressed me no end.

Whenever I hear about children who have gone missing, I can’t even begin to describe the anguish that overtakes me, and when I hear that the stories aren’t important enough to warrant front page spots in the local rag, I hate the press just a little bit more.
Apparently Hassani Campbell has been missing since Monday, but with the exception of Nancy Grace – God bless her right-wing soul – apparently there hasn’t been much interest in the case.

ABB ponders the vagaries of a media that doesn’t seem overly interested when black children go missing. (more…)

Readers share their experiences of health care in the USA.

A KKB regular writes:

My mom has a heart problem and diabetes, and we go from either her not having insurance at all, and my worrying if she’s even taking her medications, to her having insurance, paying crazy amounts, and then having it not cover any of her medications as a “pre existing” condition. (Which is why the late Ellora’s Cave checks infuriated me. It’s not that they were depriving me of the latest gadget/spending money. They were depriving my mother of her live saving medicines, because when things get tough, I buy mom’s medicine for her.)

My father died of cancer, and I feel that he might have lived, or we at least might have had more time with him (diagnose to death time = three months) if he’d had quality insurance/better coverage.

If you wish to share your own health care experiences, please email me at hairylemony @ gmail.com

Readers share their experiences of health care in the USA.

A KKB regular writes:


I quit my job a few years after getting married to go back to school full time and finish my degree. I can’t buy private insurance even though I’m willing to pay high premiums because of pre-existing conditions. The only way I will ever get insured without reform is by getting a job after earning my degree that offers insurance benefits. Even then it will be six months to a year before any “pre-existing conditions” will be covered. I still owe over $12,000 for a miscarriage last year, and am currently pregnant. (more…)

Mrs Giggles has a blog up discussing the goodwill and fanfare that has surrounded Quartet Press, even though there has nary been a sampling of their wares.

Mrs G writes:

Hmm, not yet launched, but already featured on Dear Author and on the Tweet circuit with the pulse of the romance online community. Lots of buzz from various members of the online community. I’m tickled by how they are building momentum in the same way that Ravenous Romance did, only Ravenous Romance earned the ire of most of the online community even before they published anything. Compare that to the way Quartet Press seems to be earning lots of love even before having published anything, and I’m tickled because, you know, the working of Blog Land never ceases to fascinate me.

She makes a good point methinks. Let’s face it, when was the last time RomLand embraced an e-publisher before they were even open? (more…)

Andrew Sullivan from The Daily Dish has a regular column called The View From Your Sick Bed.

Basically readers write in to him about their experiences under the current health care system in the USA.

I’d like to do something similar here at KKB for a couple of weeks.

I’d like to post your stories daily if I can, but obviously much of this will depend on the feedback I get from you guys.

If you would like your health care experiences to be posted on here, please send me your stories via email: hairylemony @ gmail.com
(Do I really have to mention ‘without the spaces’?)

We’ve discussed health care in the USA at length here at KKB, so I will be re-posting some of the comments from those discussions.

On Twitter a couple of days ago, MsMichelleR linked to a column on the Huffington Post, which pointed to a piece by Katie Couric, were she denounced all the scaremongering that’s been going on, re the proposed healthcare reforms in the US.

Katie Couric denounced the “fear and frankly ignorance” that is driving people to town-hall forums on health care in her “Notebook” segment.

She expressed alarm that the debate has stirred up a hornet’s nest and has “uncovered disturbing attitudes and emotions that have nothing to do with policy. Are we really still debating health care when a man brings a handgun to a church where the President is speaking?

How does a swastika spray-painted on a Congressman’s office further a discussion about Medicare?

These are tough and challenging times and lots of people are scared about their jobs and the economy. But we can’t let fear and frankly ignorance – drown out the serious debate that needs to take place – about an issue that affects the lives of millions of people.

It’s time for everyone to take a deep breath and to focus on the task at hand before this sideshow drowns out the main event.”

Fox News found the one pseudo-British politician who was quite happy to denounce the NHS. This man is a member of the European Parliament (MEP), which quite frankly means that not many people had a clue who he was. We know who Daniel Hannan is now though, and his comments have come as an embarrassment to Conservative leader, David Cameron. (more…)

welcome back


I am so happy to ‘see’ her. I think it’s been well over a year since she last blogged.

I emailed her loads over the past year, because I was really worried about her. The thing with blogging is, people can up and disappear, and you may never hear from them again. It’s happened a couple of times already, and if I like that person, I tend to worry about them, Maili, I’m looking at you!.

Monica was such a staunch voice in RomLand, she was honest and direct, and you always knew where you stood with her. Gosh it’s lovely to have her back.

She’s had a terrible time of it, having to deal with serious health issues, so she doesn’t quite sound her usual chirpy self, but hopefully that will change soon.

Anyway, go and say hi, I’m sure she’d appreciate it.

(I already tried posting a comment, but it didn’t show up for some reason, I’ll try again though. Monica, you may need to check your spam queue, because I think that’s where my comment went. In fact, I think you may find that quite a few other comments have ended up in your Akismet spam filter too.)

Terry Gibbs

This news piece sent to me by Just Ginny, really warmed my heart, and left me with a lovely fuzzy feeling:

NEWBERRY COUNTY, S.C. — A Newberry County man was severely beaten by the parents of three children who the man is accused of sexually molesting, and he was then dropped off at a detention center where he suffered a heart attack.

Officers said they saw the man, later identified as Terry Hugh Gibbs, 54, of Newberry, being put out of a vehicle at the Newberry County Detention Center on Sunday night. Gibbs told officers he had been beaten because he had sexually assaulted three children, all under 10 years old, to whom he is related.

The officers called an ambulance to the detention center. A short time later, Gibbs had a heart attack and was transported to a Columbia-area hospital for medical treatment

Newberry County sheriff’s investigators learned that after one of the children told a relative about the alleged assault, the other children came forward. Gibbs was beaten by the parents of all three children.

Police said they have since learned a fourth child, also a relative of Gibbs, was also molested. Investigators said that there is no indication that any other children who were not related to Gibbs were molested.

Southern justice indeed.

Gaudy Night, by Dorothy L. SayersGaudy Night

The tenth in Ms Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey novels, Gaudy Night is the third and most crucial book in the Harriet Vane story arc; it is also the first to be told entirely from Harriet’s point of view. Both this and the almost claustrophobic setting allow the reader insights into both her character and Peter’s that have only been glimpsed in previous books.

I feel that it must be noted that, while there is a quote on the cover from The Los Angeles Times touting Ms Sayers as “One of the greatest mystery story writers of this century”, it is not the mystery side of her writing that makes her novels—and Gaudy Night in particular—so incredibly appealing and so wonderful to re-read.

No, it’s not the mystery; it’s her incredibly deft use of the English language—her dialogue, her descriptions, her literary references—and how she makes these people come vividly alive on the page. (more…)

Ron Bath/Business First
Ron Bath/Business First

From Shiloh Walker‘s blog: (more…)

We might as well continue with this week’s theme eh?

This week’s dilemma is as follows:

You run a very popular blog, that’s visited by all and sundry, far and wide. In order to keep the blog running, you post adverts on the site. By doing this, you generate fairly good revenue that enables you to run competitions, and do other pretty nifty stuff.

One day, you get a request from an author who as well as writing the kind of stuff that you mightily disapprove of, also has a history of being an asshole online. You really don’t like this woman.

Your top advertising spot is available, and she’s willing to pay.

What do you do? Do you take her money, because you figure that her greens are as good as anybody else’s, or do you tell her thanks, but no thanks, because you just don’t want her associated with your blog in any way?

What would you do?

This started off as a comment on Sarah Tanner’s blog, then I decided that if I was going to write an uncharacteristically long-assed comment, then it would serve me better to put it on the blog. Shall I go with numbers too? Yeah, let’s do that.

The question was:

Does Running An Ad Equal Product Endorsement?

1. To the question, my answer is yes. More or less. If there’s an advert on your blog, then I think the implication is that you as the blog owner, whilst not necessarily endorsing the product, would appear to at least not have a problem with the ad. This may not be tacit approval, per se, but conclusions can and will be drawn by others who see the ad in question. No amount of involved ethics ruminations are going to change that.

As a blog owner, you either give a rat’s arse about the speculation or you don’t, but you shouldn’t be surprised if people do question the fact that the ad is there.

2. The SBs may not be The Guardian or The New York Times, but here in Romanceland, they are the equivalent of those two publications, which means that what they do and say are taken notice of. (more…)

Book review vs book discussion

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Posted in: Azteclady Speaks

White question mark with grey shade

A while back, the very smart Jessica of Racy Romance Reviews asked whether author comments on reviews stifle reader discussion. The ensuing thread is all kinds of interesting and thought provoking, and I heartily recommend braving the hundred plus comments to truly savor all the insight given there.

That post and the subsequent discussion addressed something that has been present in the dark recesses of my mind for a while, but it didn’t crystallize into something at least semi-coherent until a week or so ago—and this epiphany was spurred by orannia’s Broken Wing Challenge. (Original post, the challenge, and the discussion with review links).

Here is the result of all that cogitation:


Sea Witch, by Virginia Kantra

Sea Witch

The first full length novel in Ms Kantra’s Children of the Sea series, Sea Witch tells the story of the selkie Margred, one of the elemental beings born during God’s creation of the world, and Caleb Hunter, the very human chief of police of a small island off the coast of New England.

As I mentioned in my brief review of “Sea Crossing”, a short story and also a prequel for the series, the children of the sea are elementals and are loosely based on the Celtic legends of selkies, but with Ms Kantra’s personal twist.


The ARC dilemma

Monday, August 10, 2009
Posted in: Azteclady Speaks, random ramblings

AztecLady, confusing people since… well, pretty much since birth.

confused crazy

Here’s the thing that’s been going around and around in my head, not letting me sleep. (more…)

I blogged about the whitewashing of the cover for Liar a couple of weeks back.

It went from this:

Liar by  Justine Larbalestier

To this:

New Liar Cover

Larbalestier writes:

As you’ve probably heard by now Liar is getting a new cover for its publication in October.1 First Bloomsbury considered going with the Australian jacket of Liar and specifically with the black and red version you can see here because that would be the easiest thing to do. The design already exists after all and the window to make the change was very narrow.

However, given the paucity of black faces on YA covers, and the intensity of the debate around the original Liar cover, Bloomsbury felt really strongly that a more representative approach was needed. Rather than using a stock photo, Bloomsbury went the whole hog and did a photo shoot.

Well, it just shows that shitstorms and public outcries sometimes do work.

Show Me“Show Me”, by Jaci Burton

Published in electronic format by Samhain as part of the Sneak Peek duet, “Show Me” is one of Ms Burton’s erotic romances. As such, it contains graphic language and sexual scenes, and should be avoided by all minors as well as by adults with objections to either.

Here is the blurb from the publisher’s site: (more…)


This week’s dilemma is as follows:

You run a small company, and you’re currently looking to hire a new assistant. You interview a guy who’s perfect in every way, but ufortunately, he served time in prison for aggravated burglary and assault. He explains that he’s trying to get his life together, and admits that he made some huge mistakes. He just needs a chance to prove that he’s a changed man.

What do you do? Do you give him that chance, and take a risk by employing him, or do you send him on his way, and look for other suitable candidates? What would you do?

Northern Lights, by Nora Roberts

Northern Lights

I don’t think it’s a secret that I enjoy pretty much anything and everything that Ms Roberts writes—short stories, long novels, trilogies, series, mysteries… She writes it, sooner or later I’ll read it—and chances are I’ll review it too. Sometimes sooner, sometimes really later—as is the case now. Northern Lights was first published in hardcover back in 2004, and it has the uncomfortable distinction of being the only paperback edition of Ms Roberts’ work in the ohmahgawdsouncomfortable Venti edition*.

Set in the very small and *ahem* colorful fictional town of Lunacy, in Alaska, Northern Lights is a love story, a mystery, and the portrait of a community superficially reminiscent of Northern Exposure, full of eccentric characters in a setting that feels almost out of time.



Listen, I know that advertising on one’s blog is all the rage these days, but I must admit to feeling slightly uncomfortable when I saw that Chancery Stone had an ad up at the Smartbitches website.

You remember Chancery Stone, surely? She was the seemingly messed up individual who thought that incest was romantic.

Not only that, but she started that random kerfuffle on Amazon, for no other reason than to try to drum up some publicity for her self-pubbed book. I believe she ended up getting banned from Amazon eventually.

The woman even has a full Wiki page on Fandom Wank dedicated to her.

I don’t know, I guess I have my judgemental (yes, there’s an e in judgemental!) head on, but I’ve always been hugely against books that glorified incest, so to see such a book advertised on the SB’s website, was bad enough, but for the incest book in question to be penned by none other than Miss FUBAR herself, well….

Listen, the girls can advertise what the hell they want to, but I’d have thought they’d have been a bit more choosy.

But we’re all different I guess. I admit to feeling a tad disappointed by their willingness to display Chancery Stone’s wares on their website though, I don’t care how much money was involved.

Judgemental much? Hell yeah.

Edited to addAzteclady here.

When I saw the ad late last night, I sat there in shock for a bit.

Why the shock, you ask? Because my feelings about Ms Stone and her oeuvre are pretty much the same as Karen’s and I wondered about the SBs choosing to advertise this stuff.

And perhaps shock is too strong a word–what I am is puzzled. I may be indeed doing them an injustice, and if so I apologize, but I find it unbelievable that they could be ignorant of what Ms Stone writes.